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 Welcome to ISIS Thailand !

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 Events Summary 2019

A "Dream Thailand" Public Forum - “Anand Panyarachun and the Making of Modern Thailand: Issues and Insights” – A Book Launch and Discussion” 

.” This is a book launch, followed by a discussion. Dominic Faulder’s authorized biography of Khun Anand is rich in detail and instructive in its portrayal of Thailand’s consummate diplomat and two-time prime minister whose tenure in diplomacy, private sector, and government coincided with Thailand’s nation-building decades from the 1950s to the 1990s. After Dominic Faulder’s brief comments, we will be joined by former Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya who will share his own experience from diplomacy and government in reaction to and reflection on the book. Khun Anand himself may offer comments during the discussion. The overall aim of this public forum is not just to talk about an earlier era of government and diplomacy but also to tease out key issues, insights, and lessons from the recent past for what Thailand has been encountering in its political life in the contemporary period. 
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A Public Forum - “ASEAN and the New World Disorder: Thailand, seeking a new balance” 

Thailand's murky election on March 24 serves as a prelude to a broader power struggle among competing players and institutions that now must operate under a new reign.

A profound reckoning so far in the 21st century between Thailand's monarchy-centred hierarchy and a democratic order based on popular rule will require compromise and mutual accommodation among competing interests to remain peaceful and workable. While the Thai economy has held up on a subpar basis, lagging ASEAN peers such as Vietnam and Indonesia, modest growth prospects could head south unless Thailand can generate new momentum and move forward after 15 years of stop-start progress. 
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ISIS Co-organized Public Forum on "China on Responsible Global Superpower?" 

Venue is Room 209, Faculty of Economic, Chulalongkorn University 
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A Public Forum - Thailand's ASEAN Chair: Challenges Ahead 

As is widely known, Thailand is ASEAN’s rotational chair for 2019. Thailand’s foreign policy team has geared up for this task for many months and is poised to carry out its duties in view of ASEAN’s myriad challenges from the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and the South China Sea to the regional navigation of the United States-China trade conflict. Global geopolitical tensions are on the rise, and ASEAN is in the thick of it. This public forum is intended to examine and explore Thailand’s challenges and opportunities as ASEAN Chair with a forward-looking view as how to best perform for the benefit of both ASEAN and its co-founder and birthplace. 
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A Public Forum - Thirty and Hungry for Change: Meet the New Faces of Thai Politics 

Thailand’s looming election on 24 March has been highly participated, as the last completed poll took place in July 2011. This election will see more than seven million first-time voters among the 51-million electorate. Voices of the young and the new generation will count significantly, perhaps more than in previous polls. This seminar will feature three new politicians who are “young and hungry” for change in Thai politics and who are associated with Oxford Thai Foundation and LSE in Thailand. 
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A Public Forum - An Uneasy Peace: China Power in A Divided World 

Amidst the ongoing global unravel and power shifts, underpinned by geopolitical tensions and issues such as the “trade war” between the United States and China, the rules-based liberal international order as we know it is under severe stress. It appears that, unless the international order is fundamentally readjusted and reformed, geopolitical tensions and geo-economics contestation are likely to deteriorate to the detriment of all concerned. Central to mitigating, resolving and finding ways forward is the US-China relationship. As US views are well known from the international media and other sources, this public forum takes opportunity from a visit to Bangkok by prominent Chinese think-tank and academic experts to provide Chinese perspectives on geopolitics and geo-economics. The Chinese experts are led by Tsinghua University’s Dr Yan Xuetong, who has been convening China’s premier World Peace Forum. Dr Yan has recently published a widely circulated article on China’s global outlook in Foreign Affairs, which forms the basis of our forum’s title (https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2018-12-11/age-uneasy-peace). 
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 Articles - Dr.THITINAN PONGSUDHIRAK

(July 5, 2019) The evolving Thai political fault lines 

Over the past five years under military government, it is clear that Thailand's political polarisation has not been bridged. It has, in fact, expanded into new fault lines. Apart from the longstanding yellows versus reds revolving around supporters and critics of the established political order premised on military, monarchy and bureaucracy, we now have a clear demarcation between pro- and anti-junta and authoritarianism versus democratisation camps. Newer fault lines are generational and ideological in orientation. While some of these divisions are global in nature, bringing them in line towards a new consensus in Thailand will necessitate a kind of leadership and compromise without which the country will be unsettled for the long term. 
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(June 28, 2019) Thailand's tale told via 'The Nation' 

Nearly five decades ago, The Nation newspaper started out as a pro-democracy, anti-military news organisation. It was fiercely independent and invariably hard-hitting vis-à-vis the powers-that-be. An English-language newspaper owned by Thais from the outset, it prided itself for having neither fear nor favour. Its lamentable expiry as a print newspaper today -- an online version will continue -- provides multiple parallels for Thailand's contemporary political history, ongoing polarisation and the changing nature of the business of journalism worldwide. 
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(June 21, 2019) Seeing Asean straight as Thailand chairs 

When Asean organises big meetings, the tendency for the host is to talk up a brouhaha. So it goes with the 34th Asean summit under Thailand's rotating chairmanship this year. By year's end, several hundred Asean-related meetings will have taken place, highlighted by the final annual summitry in October-November that will include top leaders from China, India, Japan, Russia, the United States, among others. 
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 Articles - Mr.KAVI CHONGKITTAVORN

(July 9, 2019) How to engage China and Japan constructively 

At the moment, China and Japan are planning to work together on at least 52 business projects in third countries in the region, encompassing both the Indian and Pacific oceans. Certainly, these projects provide tangible ways for Asia's two largest economies to foster mutual trust and forge a stronger partnership. This, however, is still a work in progress. 
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(July 2, 2019) Projecting power through Asean unity 

It only took a few seconds to change the substance of the discussion between Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and his Brunei counterpart, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Erywan Yusof, during their bilateral meeting on June 21. The two ministers were talking about ways to reduce the high cost of mobile phone roaming services in Asean to promote people-to-people contact. They were discussing "doing something together, sort-of-thing, to promote a people-centred community", according to a source who was at the meeting, when the host quipped, "Why not have Asean host the World Cup?". The word "yes" was the immediate response from Brunei. The rest is history. 
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(June 25, 2019) AOIP: A new Asean regional guide 

At the retreat on Sunday, Asean leaders hailed the Asean Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP), reiterating it is our own perspective and response to an unpredictable world and disruptive international environment. Echoing this sentiment, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told a press conference that the document is significant, as Asean now has a common approach on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region that will reinforce the Asean-centred regional architecture. That was the most important highlight of the two-day 34th Asean Summit. 
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(June 18, 2019) Thai chair and new branding of Asean 

Now the election has passed and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha has been named to head the soon-to-be civilian government. Until the new cabinet is officially named, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai will stay on in his position. With both of them at the helm, the Thai Asean chairmanship will proceed as planned. Nearly six months have elapsed since Thailand became chair, but what it has been able to accomplish over 130 meetings of various committees has gone totally unreported, as the local media was zeroed in on the post-election drama and political brinksmanship manifested by Thailand's 27 parties. Thai bureaucrats are free to prepare for the Asean summit and related meetings. 
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 Articles - Ms.GWEN ROBINSON

(May 29, 2019) Southeast Asia gains new leverage as China and US battle for influence 

BANGKOK -- There are two "friendship bridges" spanning the Tonle Sap river in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. One is labeled the Cambodia-Japanese friendship bridge; the other is the Cambodia-China friendship bridge. 
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(May 29, 2019) A Chinese military base in Southeast Asia? Some say it's inevitable 

BANGKOK -- Big-power rivalry in the Asia-Pacific region has shifted the focus from military firepower toward competition over infrastructure and investment, spurred by China's Belt and Road scheme and the U.S. and Japan-led Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. Yet traditional security concerns are more vital than ever, in some cases determining the rollout of megaprojects and military activity. 
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