CSIS Southeast Asia Sit-Rep – June 16, 2016

CSIS Southeast Asia SIT-REP

This issue includes a look at Aung San Suu Kyi’s efforts to tackle communal problems in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State, an analysis of Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s economic agenda, 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:


Deep insight into developments that move the dial

Aung San Suu Kyi Sets Out to Find “Practical Solutions” in Rakhine State, and the World Should Help,” by Murray Hiebert (@MurrayHiebert1 ) and Phuong Nguyen (@PNguyen_DC )
Two months after the National League for Democracy (NLD) government took office, State Counselor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi embarked on a process to start addressing the plight of stateless Muslims in Rakhine State, one of the most intractable—and internationally contentious—challenges facing Myanmar… Read more >>

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

What China’s Big Nation Complex Means for the Future of Asia,” by Shannon Hayden (@ShannonKHayden )
In two years on the China desk in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, colleagues and I had frequent interactions with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). They were our counterparts out of China’s embassy in Washington, and we had a cordial and productive working relationship. Our job was to help manage the defense relationship between the United States and China… Read more >>

How to Revive U.S. Trans-Pacific Partnership Ratification in 2017: Five Recommendations for the Next President,” by Esther Sainsbury
U.S. president Barack Obama recently said that he was “confident” Congress would pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal in 2016. But with no apparent effective legislative strategy, the conclusion of Obama’s presidency fast approaching, and congressional support for the TPP uncertain, it is time to consider what the next president could do to revive the trade deal in 2017. There are a number of reasons why Obama is unlikely to be able… Read more >>

Business Community Cautiously Welcomes Duterte’s Economic Agenda,” by Norashiqin Toh (@norashiqintoh )
Tough-talking Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who on May 30 was officially proclaimed victor in the Philippines’ May 9 presidential election, won over voters with his campaign focused on crime and corruption. His policy agenda on other issues was often less clear. When his rambling April 27 speech at the influential Makati Business Club focused largely on plans to eradicate criminals and drug lords, business leaders worried at the absence of clear economic plans, and said he lacked substance… Read more >>

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Argues Strategic Equilibrium Comes from Within,” by Phuong Nguyen (@PNguyen_DC )
Thai prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha’s keynote speech at the opening of the Shangri-La Dialogue on June 3 in Singapore stirred debate among those in the audience. Some were inclined to think the former general used the prestigious platform mainly to make the case for the May 2014 coup in Thailand and justify the actions taken since by the military government in Bangkok. Seen in this light, a more important — and consequential — message was easily overlooked… Read more >>

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The Leaderboard

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

Perfecto Yasay, the Philippines’ acting secretary of foreign affairs
Duterte and Yasay have expressed interest in resuming bilateral talks with China over the South China Sea disputes, an announcement warmly welcomed by China’s Foreign Ministry. However, Yasay later clarified that the Philippines will not pursue talks until after the arbitration ruling, suggesting a pragmatic attempt to balance Philippines sovereignty and diplomatic engagement with China… Read more >>

Apiradi Tantraporn, Minister of Commerce of Thailand
Apiradi Tantraporn has been Thailand’s minister of commerce since August 2015, when she was promoted as part of a larger cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha. Her appointment was part of the creation of an economic “dream team” led by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak meant to boost the Thai economy. The Wall Street Journal called her ASEAN’s most experienced trade diplomat. Her previous positions include deputy minister of commerce and director general of the Department of Foreign Trade. She was also an ambassador to the World Trade Organization… Read more >>

Sung Kim, nominee to be U.S. ambassador to the Philippines
Ambassador Sung Kim most recently served as special representative for North Korea policy and deputy assistant secretary for Korea and Japan at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to that appointment in November 2014, he was the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Earlier, he served as the special envoy for the six-party talks with the rank of ambassador, and headed the Office of Korean Affairs at the Department of State from August 2006 to July 2008… Read more >>

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Upcoming Events

The South China Sea Arbitration: Anticipating the Next Moves and Countermoves
CSIS on June 20 will host a discussion on the implications of the expected ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on the Philippines’ case against China in the South China Sea dispute. Panelists include Ernest Z. Bower, nonresident senior adviser and chair of the CSIS Southeast Asia Program advisory board; Dr. Amy Searight, senior adviser and director, CSIS Southeast Asia Program; and Andrew Shearer, senior adviser on Asia-Pacific security, CSIS. Register >>

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For more on the Southeast Asia Program, 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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