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"A Mindanao Test for China-Philippine Relations" by Malcolm Cook

2019/61, 18 July 2019 For the last three decades, successive Philippine governments have considered but not started constructing a Mindanao Railway System to link the urban centres of the country’s poorest and most troubled major island. Under President Duterte, the first president from Mindanao, this massive but commercially doubtful 1500km…
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"The Post-Sovereign Philippines" by Malcolm Cook

2019/60, 12 July 2019What matters to international policy analysts is often largely immaterial to voters. Much has been written by analysts criticizing the Duterte administration’s deference to China, particularly in the West Philippine Sea. Yet, the latest Social Weather Stations’ quarterly survey provides a humbling reality check.
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“Thai Politics without Thaksin(?)” by Termsak Chalermpalanupap

2019/59, 10 July 2019Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra made headlines in Thailand with a tweet last Sunday announcing his intention to celebrate his upcoming seventieth birthday on 26 July quietly with his family. No friends, and no political supporters, will be invited to mark the occasion with him in Dubai,…
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"China’s Raised Threat Level for the Malacca Straits Causes Puzzlement" by Ian Storey

2019/58, 9 July 2019 On 2 July, China’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) raised the threat alert for Chinese-flagged ships transiting the Straits of Malacca (SOM) to Security Level 3, the highest security setting under the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS). Security Level 3 applies when there is…
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"China’s Ballistic Missile Tests in the South China Sea Stoke Sino-US Tensions" by Ian Storey

2019/57, 8 July 2019 Reports that China conducted one or more ballistic missile tests in the South China Sea in early July highlights the growing strategic rivalry between Washington and Beijing in maritime Southeast Asia. The tests run counter to China’s narrative that the situation in the South China Sea…
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“Philippine Sovereign Limits” by Malcolm Cook

2019/56, 8 July 2019 On 9 June, a much larger, steel-hulled Chinese fishing vessel hit a Filipino one near Recto Bank in the Philippine exclusive economic zone. Recto Bank is roughly 100 nautical miles from Palawan and 600 nautical miles from Hainan Island. The Chinese vessel abandoned the 22 Filipino…
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"Revised Title ‘ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific’ Hints at Ambivalence" by Hoang Thi Ha and Glenn Ong

2019/55, 28 June 2019The original title of ASEAN’s official response on the Indo-Pacific was reportedly the “ASEAN Indo-Pacific Outlook”, which was revised at the eleventh hour to the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” (AOIP). This modification appears ordinary at first glance, but a closer look at the wording reveals the…
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"ASEAN, Myanmar, and the Rohingya Issue" by Moe Thuzar

2019/54, 25 June 2019 In the weeks leading up to the recently concluded 34th ASEAN Summit under Thailand’s chairmanship, the question of ASEAN credibly engaging Myanmar on the Rohingya issue was among key topics for discussion in Bangkok.
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"Land is Life: When Protecting Forests means Saving Malaysia’s Original Peoples" by Serina Rahman

2019/52, 18 June 2019 Malaysia’s year-old Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has made the headlines for environmental progress. The quick arrest of those behind toxic contamination at Sungai Kim-Kim, the highly publicised rejection of container-loads of plastic waste, and declarations of poachers to be shot on sight were met with praise.…
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“The Return of Ma Ba Tha to the Political Scene in Myanmar” By Nyi Nyi Kyaw

2019/53, 20 June 2019 Ma Ba Tha, or the Organization for the Protection of Race and Religion, has returned to the political scene with an open call to the people of Myanmar not to vote for the incumbent National League for Democracy (NLD) in the 2020 elections.
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