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Articles
(December 11, 2018) Cambodia's key role in regional security - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
Last month, Asia Times, citing unnamed diplomatic sources, reported that China has lobbied Cambodia for a naval base in Koh Kong province on the Gulf of Thailand, prompting the Cambodian government to deny the news. 
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(December 7, 2018) Eastern Economic Corridor must continue - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
As the election looms, the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will likely leave behind a very mixed legacy. Far from being a clean-up crew against graft and a technocratic team for effective policy performance when it seized power more than four years ago, this outgoing government has had its fair share of unaccountable corruption allegations and policy directions that merely served its own vested interests of staying in power after the polls. 
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(December 4, 2018) Watch out for Asean's new Indo-Pacific - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
If everything goes as planned, members of the United Nations Security Council will have a rendezvous in Bangkok at the end of 2019. Asean leaders will use the occasion to display to the world's most powerful players their collective leadership on the new vision of an Asia-wide region stretching from South Asia to Northeast Asia. Even though it is still nearly a year away, preparations for the first meeting between Asean leaders and the Big 5 (the council's five permanent members) have already started in earnest. 
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(November 30, 2018) China's Belt & Road needs to listen more - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
In the aftermath of a tense Asean-led summit season, it is clear now that the United States and China are engaged in a great-power competition not seen since the Cold War. The US-China trade war, irrespective of negotiated talks in Buenos Aires between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping, is set to deteriorate over the next two years and probably longer. The two superpowers may have fundamental and structural differences that cannot be resolved without a sweeping deal that realigns their geopolitical status and geoeconomic interests in a way that is acceptable to both, an unlikely prospect. So the confrontation will likely intensify. 
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(November 27, 2018) Asean engages global strategic partners - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
The Trump administration's chaotic and erratic diplomacy has prompted Asean to intensify and widen engagement with its strategic partners. At its recent summit in Singapore, Asean elevated Russia and the European Union to its eighth and ninth strategic partners, respectively. 
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(November 23, 2018) Asean summit season ends with more risks - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
The prominence and utility of Asean as a regional platform for peace and prosperity is demonstrated most vividly in a series of top-level meetings among its leaders and counterparts from other major powers, particularly the United States, China and Japan, among others. That Asean's summit season this year has ended with a whimper and acrimony bodes ill for what lies ahead. As the Asean Chair in 2019, Thailand should feel more pressed and incentivised to get its house in order with an elected government that can function effectively before major Asean meetings get under way next year. 
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(November 20, 2018) 4 big challenges for Thailand as Asean chair - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
Last week, Singapore handed the incoming Asean chair, Thailand, four formidable challenges that would define Asean's centrality and its relevance, not to mention the kingdom's leadership role. These issues are the nascent Indo-Pacific concept, the Rakhine crisis, peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, and the drafting of a code of conduct (COC) on the South China Sea. 
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(November 16, 2018) Asean chairmanship has many limitations - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
Just as all politics is ultimately local, all regionalism is mostly domestic. Such is the case with Asean. Whichever of the 10 member states chairs Asean, its role and performance tends to be domestically rooted. To envision and drive Asean forward requires deft leadership, bold ideas and smart diplomacy that must extend beyond and transcend parochial domestic concerns. No Asean member has shown this sort of farsighted regionalist ambition in recent years. Thailand appears on course to be no different when it chairs Asia's most durable organisation next year. 
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(November 13, 2018) Thailand gets ready to take Asean chair - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
A decade after living through the devastating experience of the 2009 Asean summit, the kingdom will have another chance to regain its regional leadership and reputation. Singapore will pass the baton to Thailand on Nov 15 as the Asean chair. Although the official role will kick off in January, Bangkok will get the ball rolling immediately.

Preparations have been well under way for the past two years to ensure that Thailand's time as chair will proceed without hiccups. Like a kanom chan (multi-layered rice-cake), several domestic hurdles need to be cleared in the next three critical months. 
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(November 9,2018) Facing up to Thailand's role as Asean chair - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
As Thailand gears up to chair Asean next year, a sense of deja vu is setting in. The last time Thailand held its rotational turn at Asean's helm from July 2008 to December 2009, it was undermined by domestic street protests that ended up disrupting top-level meetings and abruptly sending Asia-Pacific leaders home prematurely. Owning up to what transpired, it has to be said that the Thai hosting of Asean-centred summits back then was an utter fiasco. 
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