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 Welcome to ISIS Thailand !

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 Events Summary 2019

A Public Forum on – “Multilateralism No More? The Future of World Order from Europe to Asia” 

It is common knowledge that the rules-based liberal international order that was set up after the Second World War is now under growing stress and strain. What used to be accepted as rules and norms in the international system is increasing contested and contentious. Multilateral cooperation among states and governments is at a low point, whereas regional, bilateral and even unilateral behavior among states is more common now than we can remember. The world trading system, for example, is at severe risk, as multilateral negotiations have been ineffective. Global financial governance is similarly challenged. This public forum addresses these issues and challenges. It kicks off with a keynote speech from Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, who would then join a panel discussion with two former Thai foreign ministers, H.E. Dr Kantathi Suphamongkhon and H.E. Mr Kasit Piromya. Time will be allotted for audience participation. 
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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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Summary The Mekong Region 2.0: GMS, LMC, MA/MRC/MI, CICPEC/BRI, ACMECS, ETC 

In view of recent developments among Mekong countries, including progress on the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative’s China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor, this workshop has taken on an added significance and timeliness. Our countries all have a stake in the Mekong region, and New Zealand is a promoter of Mekong regional cooperation, including its founding of the Mekong Institute, which provides capacity training and human resource development to Mekong societies. 
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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

(August 21, 2019) ASEAN must mitigate war without weapons between US and China 

As their trade and technology tensions spread into currency manipulation, the geostrategic rivalry between the U.S. and China is fast becoming a nonmilitary war. It is no longer about trade tariffs and proprietary technologies but involves the full range of mercantilist practices to counter an adversary. 
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(August 16, 2019) Central bank autonomy must be upheld 

When elected governments make noises about economic growth in countries where macroeconomic management is sound and prudent, central bankers tend to quietly bristle and brush off such interference and infringement of monetary space at their own risk. In so doing, central bankers tend to enjoy the support of domestic and international market participants who value central bank independence more than politicians' vested interests, even if it sometimes undercuts their bottom lines. Accordingly, when central bankers go along with the preferences of elected politicians, the conduct of monetary policy comes into question. 
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(August 9, 2019) Prime Minister Prayut's huge little gaffe 

While Thailand's flawed 2017 constitution was bound to run into a fundamental dispute at some point, the sudden and brewing charter crisis facing the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha stems from an unlikely source. During the oath-taking ceremony presided over by Their Majesties on July 16, the Gen Prayut-led cabinet somehow omitted one-third of a statement which was mandated to be read aloud before officially taking office. What should have been a routine constitutional ritual has become a procedural gaffe that has captured national attention, putting government stability at risk and the prime minister's political longevity in doubt. 
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 Articles - Mr.KAVI CHONGKITTAVORN

(August 20, 2019) Time for Japan and S Korea to end spat 

Japan and South Korea must stop their tit-for-tat measures before their worsening relations reach the point of no return. The ongoing spat between Asian's two economic giants has sent chills down the spines of regional leaders, who are very concerned that it could spiral out of control and break down the longstanding spirit of East Asian community-building. If that happens, the post-war stability and prosperity of the past seven decades would quickly disappear. Difficult as it is, now is the time to mend fences. 
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(August 13, 2019) A letter from Pattani: Checkpoints and our lives 

'On our way home…

Both roadsides used to have flowers," Diarna told me.

"Colourful flowers, red, yellow, white…

Collecting them and putting them in a vase, with storylines

Before red, yellow, white colour would disappear… 
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(August 6, 2019) Something's afoot at the Asean meeting 

The United States' Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came to Bangkok with a message for his friends and allies in Asean: "Trust the US". 
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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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