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Articles
(April 5, 2019) Election augurs end of the Thaksin era - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
It could have happened in August 2001, but Thailand has taken nearly two wasted decades to see the back of Thaksin Shinawatra. 
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(April 2, 2019) China's BRI push marred by trust deficit - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
As China's economic and political clout grows by the day, Europe finds it increasingly difficult to develop an overall approach with dual objectives -- one that does not undermine its unity or upset its ally across the Atlantic, the US. Some European Union members want to take a tougher stand against China due to its limited market access, while others are concerned about possible security threats posed by China's sophisticated 5G network. 
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(March 26, 2019) Post-poll policy: Dynamic continuity - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
Speculation is rife about imminent changes in Thailand's diplomatic direction after five years of military-ruled guidance. Political pundits and campaigners ahead of the polls last week also sent out strong signals that they expect a new cabinet in Government House with new policies. One of the casualties would be Thai-Chinese ties, which have progressed and strengthened without waveringly over the past five years. However, the outcome of Sunday's election indicates that whichever parties form the next civilian government, there will be little effect on the country's foreign relations or the current Asean chair. Indeed, Thailand's foreign policy will become more dynamic with continuity. 
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(March 20, 2019) Election highlights crisis of Thai junta rule - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
As Thailand heads to the poll on March 24 for the first time in nearly eight years, almost five of them under Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha after his 2014 military coup, the political stakes have never been higher. 
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(March 19, 2019) Virachai: Thai diplomat extraordinaire - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
It was in the afternoon of Feb 22 that I met Virachai Plasai, the Thai ambassador to the United States, along with his five staffers for a meeting at the Thai embassy's main conference room in Washington at 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW. I had no idea that he was suffering from Myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of bone-marrow cancer. His face was a bit pale, but he was focused and attentive. 
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(March 15, 2019) Army-backed regime pulls poll disguises - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
At issue in the looming election is less about Thailand's return to democratic rule and more about the country's slide into long-term military-authoritarianism with democratic disguises. The most recent military seizure of power on May 22, 2014, appears increasingly like a coup to remake all coups. However the votes are decided, the army-backed junta under the National Council for Peace and Order, spearheaded by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, intends to stay for the long haul. 
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(March 12, 2019) Why RCEP requires greater effort - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
After nearly six years and 26 rounds of bargaining, it is time for the negotiating team to stop playing games and move forward for the common good of the East Asian region. Judging from the latest round of top-level meetings and negotiations in Siem Reap, Cambodia, at the end of February, it is still difficult to conclude the Asean-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) under Thai chairmanship, unless its leaders give their negotiators a big push. No more dilly-dallying. 
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(March 5, 2019) Asean must continue to engage n korea - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
The second Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi failed to produce an outcome that would enable regional partners to play a bigger role. Last week's meeting was strictly a leader-to-leader negotiation, nobody else. US President Donald Trump walked away from the tête-à-tête without an agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, simply because he thought it was a bad deal to end sanctions at this crucial moment. It is a chicken-and-egg situation. 
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(March 1, 2019) Policy ideas absent from poll campaign - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
As the election campaign season moves into full swing after a nearly eight-year hiatus, many will see it as the same old tired routine of politicians smearing each other, slinging mud and squabbling all the way to the poll and beyond. 
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(February 26, 2019) Thailand's Asean chair: Views from Washington - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
Across the other half of the globe, Thailand's Asean chair has been viewed with scepticism and doubt. In the US, the upcoming election, the coronation and other domestic developments were perceived as variables that could impact the ambitious Thai chair. Then there is a bigger lingering question about President Donald Trump's overseas trips this year. 
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