ASEAN Perspectives

Protectionism slammed as Southeast Asian leaders rally to trade pact

by Thanaporn PROMYAMYAI / Dene-Hern Chen Agence France Presse BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Southeast Asian leaders made an impassioned plea against protectionism at a regional summit in Bangkok Sunday, warning that a dragging US-China trade spat could hammer their export-led economies. Tit-for-tat tariffs between Washington and Beijing have cast a dark cloud over global growth forecasts and experts warn any drop-off in spending by the world’s two biggest economies is likely to hit Southeast Asia […]

Duterte, Widodo hold bilateral talks on ASEAN Summit sidelines, agree on landmark accord on maritime boundaries

(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo held a bilateral meeting Saturday night, June 22, on the sidelines of the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit where they agreed on a landmark accord on maritime boundaries between the two countries “This landmark accord concluded between the two biggest archipelagic states stands as a valuable example of the peaceful and rules-based settlement of maritime borders in accordance with 1982 United […]

ASEAN seeks conclusion of China-led trade deal this year: Thai PM

  BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Southeast Asian leaders are eager to sign a sweeping China-led trade pact by the end of this year, Thailand’s prime minister said Friday, with further talks expected at a Bangkok summit on the world’s biggest commercial deal. Beijing is seeking to shape the rules of free trade across the Asia-Pacific, as America retreats from multilateral deals under US President Donald Trump. The China-crafted Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) includes all […]

Duterte pushes for binding guidelines on South China Sea, notes how region is a “flashpoint for trouble”

  (Eagle News) — Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte expressed his frustration regarding the South China Sea during his keynote address on the “25th International Conference on the Future of Asia” conference in Tokyo on Friday, May 31, as he pushed for binding guidelines that could prevent tensions in the volatile region. “We are friends with China. I am the moderator country for China and the ASEAN. And the last thing I heard was that the […]

Mahathir says escalating US-China trade war not good for the world

  (Eagle News) – Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that the escalating US-China trade war is affecting other nations, as he urged more dialogue between the two superpowers. Mahathir was the keynote speaker in the opening of the 25th Future of Asia conference in Tokyo on Thursday, May 30, which is sponsored by Nikkei. The 93-year old Southeast Asian leader said that the US-China trade war is creating instability and uncertainty in the world. […]

Suu Kyi tries to save face with Myanmar reporters’ release

  by Richard SARGENT Agence France Presse YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — After relentless diplomatic pressure and global outrage, fallen democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi finally decided that a pardon for two Myanmar journalists jailed for reporting on a Rohingya massacre was the only way to resolve an issue that has dogged her government for nearly 18 months. Observers say the unexpected release of the two Reuters reporters was a political decision timed to save […]

Malaysia criticized for failures on rights reforms

  PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia’s government faced criticism Thursday for failing to repeal repressive laws and backtracking on promises to improve human rights a year after sweeping to power with a reformist agenda. A ramshackle coalition headed by veteran politician Mahathir Mohamad stormed to a shock election victory on May 9 last year, toppling a corruption-plagued regime that had led the country since independence from Britain in 1957. The Pact of Hope alliance had […]

Indonesia’s Joko Widodo on track to beat firebrand ex-general

  by Kiki Siregar Agence France Presse JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia’s Joko Widodo was on track to be re-elected leader of the world’s third-biggest democracy with pollsters giving him a wide lead over rival Prabowo Subianto, a firebrand ex-general, hours after voting closed Wednesday across the 17,000-island archipelago. While official results are not due until next month, a series of so-called “quick counts” by pollsters showed Widodo holding a strong lead with around 55 […]

Muslim-majority Indonesia votes in its biggest-ever election

  JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia kicked off one of the world’s biggest one-day elections Wednesday, pitting president Joko Widodo against ex-general Prabowo Subianto in a race to lead the Muslim-majority nation. More than 190 million Indonesians are set to cast a ballot as polls opened shortly after 7:00 am local time (2200 GMT Tuesday) in restive Papua. The vote is slated to end at 1:00 pm (0600 GMT) in Sumatra at the other end […]

Singapore hopeful for China-backed Asia trade pact this year

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Singapore’s trade minister said Wednesday he was hopeful that an Asia-wide trade pact, which is backed by China and excludes the United States, could be sealed by the end of the year. On a visit to Washington, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said that a clearer picture would emerge on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in May after elections in four countries that are part of […]

President Duterte, Malaysian PM Mahathir back freedom of navigation, overflight in South China Sea

  (Eagle News) — Both Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and President Duterte, the two oldest heads of state in Asia, called for maintaining freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea, as well as the peaceful settlement of disputes in the region. During their joint statement Thursday, March 7, after their closed door bilateral meeting, President Duterte said he and Mahathir agreed on the importance of “freedom of navigation and overflight” in the […]

Analyzing the Rice Tariffication Law and its implications: Int’l agri research expert explains the issue

  (Eagle News) — What are the implications of the Rice Tariffication Act which was recently signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte? Will it address the so-called rice crisis in the country? In this epsiode of ASEAN in Focus Weekend Edition, former Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and former agriculture secretary, Dr. William Dar, analyzes the issue. Dar explains how the lifting of the quantitative restrictions […]