CSIS – Southeast Asia Sit-Rep June 4, 2015

CSIS Southeast Asia SIT-REP

The SIT-REP gives you links to all of CSIS Southeast Asia’s (@SoutheastAsiaDC) best updates and programs in a five minute read. This issue includes testimony about China-Vietnam relations, extensive post-Shangri-La Dialogue blog and podcast coverage, a pair of upcoming Banyan Tree Leadership Forums, and much more. Links will take you to the full publications, multimedia, or to registration for upcoming programs when available. To jump to a section, select one of the following:


The core of CSIS Southeast Asia’s work is our research. Go deep for insight and inspiration

Testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission: China-Vietnam Relations,” by Murray Hiebert (@MurrayHiebert1)
China and Vietnam this year celebrate 65 years of bilateral diplomatic relations. However, the two countries only normalized ties in 1991 following a period of hostility from 1978 to 1991. Following the reunification of Vietnam under communist rule in 1975, the government oppressed and drove out many ethnic Chinese from southern Vietnam…Read more >>

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Deep insight into developments that move the dial

Australia Has a Larger Role to Play in the South China Sea,” by Gregory Poling (@GregPoling)
Both the tone and substance of South China Sea discussions in Australian policy circles has undergone an important shift in recent months. What was previously a second-tier security concern to be watched closely and engaged diplomatically, but at a safe distance, has become a heated discussion about concrete responses…Read more >>

Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement: Manila’s Most Credible Deterrent to China,” by Ernest Bower (@BowerCSIS)
The Philippines’ most credible deterrent to China’s stepped-up unilateral actions in the South China Sea is under the pen of Maria Lourdes Sereno, the chief justice of the Philippine Supreme Court. Sereno has been tasked with writing the decision of the court on whether the U.S.-Philippines EDCA is constitutional… Read more >>

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The CSIS Asia blog features insights on policy around the Asia Pacific

Carter on the South China Sea: Committed & (Mostly) Clear,” by Gregory Poling (@GregPoling)
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue on May 30 amounted to a robust, but measured, defense of the United States’ rebalance to the Asia Pacific and its commitment to remain a Pacific power. The speech concluded with an enthusiastic articulation of the United States’ interests in the South China Sea… Read more >>

Enter Science & China’s Blue Economy in the South China Sea’s Policy Discussion,” by James Borton
The role of marine science and the emergence of China’s blue economy helped frame a new narrative on the South China Sea’s policy debate, as shown at a May 21 CSIS discussion. Two of the panelists agree that the South China Sea is likely to be recognized as one of the most significant environmental issues of the 21st century… Read more >>

Threading the Power Balance at Shangri-La: Singapore Prime Minister Sounds Note of Caution,” by Phuong Nguyen (@PNguyen_DC)
The annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore has become a highly regarded venue where regional leaders lay out or explain their countries’ policies. In his opening address, Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong reaffirmed what is on the mind of most Southeast Asian countries: regional governments want U.S.-China relations to stay on a positive course… Read more >>

Carter Defends the South China Sea at Shangri-La,” by Michael Green, Ernest Bower (@BowerCSIS), and Mira Rapp-Hooper (@MiraRappHooper)
Carter’s Shangri-La speech did not disappoint; he broadened the aperture focusing on wider strategic goals for the region, he called for a regional architecture that gives all countries and people in the Asia Pacific the right to rise, and spoke at length on the South China Sea disputes. Here are some of the prominent themes from his remarks… Read more >>

Sabah’s Shadow on the South China Sea,” by Jay Batongbacal
Philippine media went into a minor frenzy with the startling news that Manila purportedly offered Kuala Lumpur a quid pro quo in March: dropping the Philippine claim to North Borneo (Malaysia’s Sabah State) in exchange for Malaysian support for Manila’s arbitration case over the South China Sea. The media reports were quickly denied… Read more >>

Thailand Has a Chance to Lead on Rohingya Boatpeople Crisis,” by John Ziegler
The discovery of human trafficking camps in southern Thailand in early May, where at least 30 victims of human smugglers were found buried, once again put Thailand’s role in regional trafficking networks in the spotlight. These victims, believed to be Muslim Rohingya from western Myanmar’s Rakhine State, appeared to have died from starvation or disease… Read more >>

Ash Carter and a U.S. Economic Strategy for Asia,” by John Ziegler
Before leaving for his first visit to Northeast Asia last month, Carter made an important speech at Arizona State University, where he talked about understanding the vital link between security in Asia and economics. In that context, he uttered the prophetic line “Passing TPP is as important to me as another aircraft carrier”… Read more >>

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The Leaderboard

Two-minute read on the real people that are making news

Sun Jianguo, Chief of Singapore’s National Trade Unions Congress
Sun will be China’s 2015 representative to the Shangri-La Dialogue, where Wang Guanzhong made headlines in 2014 for “launching a rhetorical fusillade” at Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and former U.S. secretary of defense Chuck Hagel, both of whom had spoken in harsh tones about China’s increasingly assertive posture in the South China Sea… Read more >>

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CogitAsia Podcast

An engaging mix of news, analysis, and predictions from around the region

CogitAsia Podcast: June 4, 2015
This week we review Asia’s annual informal meeting on security issues, the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. CSIS Senior Adviser for Asia Bonnie Glaser attended the dialogue and sat down with Colm afterwards to share her take on the themes of the event this year and to analyze U.S. and Chinese messaging on the South China Sea… Listen >>

CogitAsia Podcast: May 29, 2015
Here at CSIS we continue to track the progress of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s economic reform efforts alongside the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-corruption drive. Recently, Freeman Chair in China Studies Chris Johnson hosted a wide-ranging conversation on the progress and contradictions of the reform process with two prominent economists… Listen >>

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The Dialog

Short, to the point interviews with the region’s policymakers

Alex Zelinsky, Australia’s Chief Defense Scientist
Murray Hiebert sits down with Alex Zelinsky, the chief scientist in the Defence Science and Technology Organization of the Australian Department of Defence, to discuss the latest trends in Australia’s defense technology, including electronic warfare, space-based systems, and nanotechnology. He also discusses recruitment, budget cuts, and collaboration with foreign partners… Listen to Dialog >>

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Recent Programs

CSIS programs are designed to expose you to policymakers through open and honest dialogue

Derwin Pereira Indonesia Initiative with Ridwan Kamil, June 1
CSIS hosted a discussion with Ridwan Kamil, mayor of the city of Bandung, Indonesia. He discussed how cooperation can be enhanced between municipal and local governments in Indonesia and the United States. Ridwan was elected mayor of Bandung in June 2013. An architect by training, he teaches at the Bandung Institute of Technology… Read more >>

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Upcoming Programs

CSIS programs are designed to expose you to policymakers through open and honest dialogue

Banyan Tree Leadership Forum with Tommy Remengesau, President of Palau, June 11
CSIS will host a conversation with Tommy Remengesau, president of the Republic of Palau, and Senator John McCain, U.S. senator for Arizona. They will discuss Palau’s effort to protect its marine resources and sovereign maritime territory. President Remengesau will make keynote remarks, followed by a panel discussion with Senator McCain… Read more >>

Banyan Tree Leadership Forum with K Shanmugam, Foreign Minister of Singapore, June 15
CSIS will host a forum with K Shanmugam, Singapore’s minister for foreign affairs and minister for law. Shanmugam will discuss Singapore’s bilateral relations with the United States, regional relationships, and the opportunities and challenges facing Singapore. Singapore is celebrating 50 years of independence this year… Read more >>

Fifth Annual CSIS South China Sea Conference, July 21
This full-day conference will provide opportunities for in-depth discussion and analysis of U.S. and Asian policy options in the South China Sea. It will feature speakers from throughout the region, including claimant countries. Panels will address recent developments, legal issues, the strategic balance, and engage in a crisis simulation…Details to follow

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For more the Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies, check out our website, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, visit our blog CogitAsia, and listen to our podcast at CogitAsia and iTunes. Thank you for your interest in U.S. policy in Southeast Asia and CSIS Southeast Asia. Join the conversation!

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