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 Events 2023

Assessing EU-ASEAN Cooperation in the New Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific: Commonalities, Challenges and Prospects 

Assessing EU-ASEAN Cooperation in the New Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific: Commonalities, Challenges and Prospects’ is the second talk of the public forum series by the EU Delegation to Thailand (EUD) and ISIS Thailand. It will explore the EU’s relations with ASEAN following the first-ever summit between their leaders recently held in Brussels (14 December 2022). The summit commemorated 45 years of EU-ASEAN diplomatic relations, where leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a rules-based international order and multilateralism, and accelerated a series of new initiatives to realise the full potential of the EU-ASEAN Strategic Partnership. 

(February 10, 2023) Reversing Myanmar's internal strife 

This month marks two anniversaries of ongoing conflicts in Europe and Southeast Asia, namely 12 months after Russia invaded Ukraine and two years since Myanmar's military seized power by toppling a democratically elected and civilian-led government under Aung San Suu Kyi. 

(February 3, 2023) Myanmar's military takeover falters 

Global news headlines this month will be focused on the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which falls on Feb 24. This external aggression, where a bigger state unilaterally takes territory from a smaller neighbour by force, can be juxtaposed to an internal subjugation in Myanmar, where a military coup took place two years ago this week. Whether the aggression is externally between states, or internally within a state, the oppressors behave the same way and pursue similar objectives of conquest and dominance. Reversing an internal subjugation is as morally compelling as turning back an external aggression. What Myanmar's civilian-led resistance coalition needs is a fraction of the aid the Ukrainians have been receiving. 

(January 27, 2023) Thailand's political charade exposed 

On the face of it, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for eight years, has touted himself as "an outsider" who was above the political fray, seizing power in a military coup and taking top office to help Thailand in its hour of need amid debilitating protests and polarisation in 2013-14. Now that the general has thrown his hat in the ring under the United Thai Nation (UTN) Party locally known as "Ruam Thai Sang Chart" to contest the upcoming election, the charade is over. 

(February 14, 2023) New Thai-Malaysia economic dynamics 

Without any diplomatic pleasantries, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha kicked off bilateral talks last week with his Malaysian counterpart, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, by stating clearly that Thai-Malaysian ties have not been progressing very well. The opening remarks drew a big smile from Mr Anwar as a sign of appreciation. It immediately set the tone of his two-day visit. 

(February 7, 2023) Asean and Myanmar: The next moves 

Last week, the new Asean chair, Indonesia, convened the first two important meetings -- the Asean Coordinating Council and Asean Foreign Ministers' Retreat -- to discuss and follow up on ongoing and emerging issues that have to do with the relevancy of Asean and its centrality. 

(January 31, 2023) Thai soft power, or a soft sales job? 

Last week Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-cha issued a new soft power policy to promote Thai culture as part of efforts to attract international visitors. Upon close scrutiny, what the government is trying to do is actually raise revenue. In a nutshell, it is a sales pitch, nothing more.