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 Event Summary 2018

Myanmar's Rohingya/Rakhine Crisis: Domestic Roots and International Dynamics 

As we are aware, Myanmar's promising reforms from 2011 culminated with elections four years later and a power-sharing agreement between generals and civilians, the latter led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Economic development has risen markedly, albeit from a low base, but fatigue and disillusion have beset democratization under high expectations. Due to the Suu Kyi-led government’s own fault and to intractable ethnic unrest, Myanmar has become a single-issue country revolving around the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority in westernmost Rakhine state. Myanmar’s economy is poised to enjoy a prolonged expansion as more capital and labor are deployed on fertile land but the country's democratic politics will be messy and unsatisfactory, leaving its erstwhile supporters in the international community feeling jilted. Against this backdrop, our public forum on this occasion will examine the trends and dynamics of Myanmar's Rohingya/Rakhine crisis. 

Two Koreas saga: Keep your fingers crossed - Kavi Chongkittavorn 

When the two leaders from Korea meet in Panmunjom later next month, new histories of East Asia will be narrated and written. 

Prime Minister Prayut is no President Xi - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 

That the Chinese Communist Party-controlled legislature has removed the term limits of the country's president and vice president has already sent shockwaves worldwide. It means that President Xi Jinping can continue to be China's head of state into a third term beyond 2023. Even though China's presidency is less powerful than the Chinese Communist Party's General Secretary and head of the Central Military Commission, the abolition of presidential term limits sends unmistakable signals that President Xi intends to hold complete and absolute power. He is now seen as more powerful than any contemporary Chinese leader, unrivalled since the time of founding father Mao Zedong. 

Australia's new strategy towards Asean - Kavi Chongkittavorn 

When Australia looks to the north, what does it see? Southeast Asia, of course. But the region is no longer the geographic landmass in its front yard comprised of 10 countries governed by different political systems and cultural values to its own. From next week onward, Southeast Asian countries, each with a unique domestic dynamic, will become the nexus of Australian foreign policy. 

EU-Asean relations fall under a curse again - Kavi Chongkittavorn 

Each time that Asean-EU ties appear to be on an upward curve, some mishap occurs. In the past year, due to major geopolitical shifts regionally and globally, particularly over transatlantic ties, the EU has paid more attention to Asean, wanting to strengthen ties beyond trade and investment, including on security and strategic matters. Likewise, scenting the US backsliding from multilateral forums, Asean is looking toward the EU as the new stabilising force for the region's economic progress, peace and prosperity. 

Cobra Gold drills depoliticise Thai-US ties - Kavi Chongkittavorn 

The 37th Cobra Gold annual multilateral military exercise ended last week with one major outcome -- the depoliticising of Thai-US relations which have been held captive since the May 2014 coup. 

Elections, corruption and Thai democracy - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 

People at home and abroad are calling for elections in Thailand on the premise of returning democracy to a country that has been under nearly four years of military government. 

Singapore's Asean tests: twists and turns - Kavi Chongkittavorn 

Judging from the well-crafted statement on the Asean foreign ministers' retreat in the Lion City last week, Singapore as the current chair of the regional grouping has its work cut out for it. 
 Event Summary 2016

Migration, Terrorism and Democracy: Lessons and Challenges Across Asia and Africa 

Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS) Public Forum
“Migration, Terrorism and Democracy: Lessons and Challenges Across Asia and Africa”
Tuesday, 31st January 2017 at 9.00 – 11.00a.m. 

President Donald J. Trump: Meanings and Consequences for Southeast Asia and Thailand 

A “Dream Thailand” Public Forum Series
“President Donald J. Trump: Meanings and Consequences for Southeast Asia and Thailand”
Friday, 3rd February 2017