The Latest on Southeast Asia

CSIS Southeast Asia Program

May 26, 2022
r.CSIS
The Latest on Southeast Asia

In Tokyo on May 23, President Biden announced the formation of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). The framework will bring together the United States and a dozen other Indo-Pacific countries. The agreement will cover both traditional and digital trade standards, decarbonization and infrastructure, supply chain resiliency, taxation, and anti-corruption.

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SEA Games to light up Hanoi after COVID-19 delay

channelnewsasia.com

SEA Games to light up Hanoi after COVID-19 delay
A Vietnamese gymnast takes part in a training session ahead of the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at Quan Ngua gymnasium in Hanoi on May 5, 2022. (Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen)
SEA Games to light up Hanoi after COVID-19 delay
A Vietnamese gymnast takes part in a training session ahead of the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at Quan Ngua gymnasium in Hanoi on May 5, 2022. (Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen)
SEA Games to light up Hanoi after COVID-19 delay
Malaysia’s Nur Dhabitah Sabri won the first gold at the SEA Games in Hanoi. (Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen)
SEA Games to light up Hanoi after COVID-19 delay
The SEA Games will officially begin on May 12, 2022 in Hanoi. (Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen)

HANOI: The Southeast Asian Games open in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on Thursday (May 12) after a six-month COVID-19 delay with Southeast Asian pride at stake in everything from football to bodybuilding and e-sports.

More than 5,000 athletes including Olympic champions are vying for more than 500 gold medals in the event, which is staged every two years, in what should be packed arenas.

The 11-nation Games include traditional Olympic sports such as athletics, swimming and boxing, but also regional ones like sepak takraw, an eye-catching volleyball-style game where teams kick a rattan ball.

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Fallout in Southeast Asia of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

March 11, 2022 CSIS

Southeast Asian nations have been rather subdued in their responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, although all but two—Vietnam and Laos—voted in the United Nations in early March to condemn Moscow’s aggression. The fighting erupted thousands of miles away, but the effects, particularly of the sanctions imposed by the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia, and others, will still have economic reverberations in Southeast Asia.

Overall, Russia and Ukraine are relatively minor economic players in Southeast Asia, with Russia making up just over 0.64 percent of global trade with the region while Ukraine accounts for just 0.11 percent, according to ASEANstats. But Moscow’s Economic Development Ministry has said that it will work to boost trade and economic links with Asia to balance sanctions.

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Climate Finance in Southeast Asia: Trends and Opportunities

fulcrum.sg

PUBLISHED 11 FEB 2022

Qiu Jiahui

MELINDA MARTINUS|QIU JIAHUI

The Covid-19 crisis has stalled the delivery of much-needed climate finance to developing countries. For Southeast Asia, a region frequently cited as being one of the most vulnerable regions threatened by climate change, the broken promise of climate finance is highly disappointing.

INTRODUCTION

Climate finance has been one of the most contentious issues in global climate politics. At the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15), developed countries committed to mobilising by 2020 US$100 billion climate finance annually to assist vulnerable countries. The pledge has been key to building trust between states to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as specified in the Paris Agreement.

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2022 State of Southeast Asia Survey: Diverse Perspectives and Hard Realities

fulcrum.sg

PUBLISHED 16 FEB 2022

TERENCE CHONG

The US has gained ground against China in the contest for regional influence in Southeast Asia, according to the latest State of Southeast Asia Survey. ASEAN continues to be seen as ineffective in the eyes of respondents; at the same time, they are willing to give it credit when it is due.

The United States is gaining significant ground against China in the battle to win friends and influence countries, with respondents across Southeast Asia confident that Washington would be able to lead on issues such as championing free trade and upholding the rules-based regional order. 

A fresh reading of The State of Southeast Asia Survey also showed that pressing issues — the Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment and economic retraction as well as climate change – continue to be prioritised by respondents. In their view, however, ASEAN is seen as too slow and ineffective to cope with rapid developments.

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ASEAN and the new geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific

29 December 2021 Author: Amitav Acharya, American University

eastasiaforum.org

Southeast Asia is no stranger to strategic competition. But its ‘new geopolitics’ is different from those that existed during the Cold War.

China Premier Li Keqiang attends Southeast Asian leaders virtual summit Tuesday 26 October 2021 without Myanmar military leader Min Aung Hlaing after its top general failure of Myanmar's army to adhere to a peace road map it had agreed with the southeast Asian bloc following the coup in February.

In fighting communism, the United States extended its security umbrella to the region. This gave ASEAN members breathing space and allowed them to focus on economic growth and domestic stability. It also stimulated unity among Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines due to fear of being entangled in great power intervention. Aid and investment from Japan, a US ally and Asia’s then fastest rising economy, helped industrialise several Southeast Asian countries.

Now, China has displaced Japan as Asia’s largest economy and ASEAN’s largest trade partner. China’s GDP today is more than five times that of ASEAN’s combined. It spends five times more on defence. Unlike the Soviet Union, China is Southeast Asia’s immediate neighbour — a dragon breathing down its neck.

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Mặt trái của du lịch: Liệu Đông Nam Á có thể cứu vãn các kho báu tự nhiên?

BVR&MT – 07/05/2019

Từ Thái Lan đến Bali, khách du lịch – phần lớn đến từ Trung Quốc và các nền kinh tế đang phát triển nhanh chóng khác – đang gia tăng chóng mặt, đẩy các hệ sinh thái nhạy cảm đến điểm tan vỡ.

Một số quốc gia đang cố gắng kiểm soát sự bùng nổ, chẳng hạn như đóng cửa một vài điểm đến phổ biến để các khu vực bị thiệt hại được chữa lành.

Vịnh Maya ở Thái Lan thu hút 5.000 khách du lịch mỗi ngày trước khi chính phủ đóng cửa khu vực để hệ sinh thái phục hồi (Ảnh: Shutterstock)

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Southeast Asia risks stumbling toward a South American future

asia.nikkei.com

Current trajectory suggests region will struggle to escape middle-income trap

William Bratton November 28, 2021 05:00 JST

Workers arrange blades at an assembly line in Rayong province, east of Bangkok, in April 2016: many of the necessary ingredients for productivity-led development are missing across much of  Southeast Asia.   © Reuters

William Bratton is author of “China’s Rise, Asia’s Decline.” He was previously head of equity research, Asia-Pacific, at HSBC.

It is easy to forget that it was South America, not Asia, that was once seen as the world’s emerging economic hot spot.

Many of the region’s countries were relatively prosperous in the first half of the 20th century. Argentina, for example, was then one of the world’s richest countries. They also achieved impressive growth rates in the immediate aftermath of World War II.

But South America has fallen far since those halcyon days. The region’s combined gross domestic product, in constant dollar terms, was 22% of the U.S.’s in 1980 but just 17% in 2020. This relative decline is even more stark on a per capita basis. Brazil’s GDP per capita was 22% of the U.S.’s in 1980 but only 14% in 2020, while Mexico’s fell from 25% to 15% over the same period.

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India and Vietnam will define the future of Asia: Kurt Campbell

Japan to host next Quad summit in 2022, U.S. Indo-Pacific coordinator says

asia.nikkei.com

Kurt Campbell, the U.S. National Security Council Indo-Pacific coordinator speaks at the United States Institute of Peace on Nov. 19. (Screenshot)KEN MORIYASU, Nikkei Asia chief desk editorNovember 20, 2021 03:20 JST

NEW YORK — U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration views India and Vietnam as key countries to strengthen relations with, his Indo-Pacific point man said Friday.

India will be a key fulcrum player on the global stage in the 21st century, and successive American administrations have been united in that assessment, said Kurt Campbell, the National Security Council’s coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, at an event hosted by the Washington-based United States Institute of Peace.

“I’m very bullish about the future with India. I think we all recognize that the critical, crucial member in the Quad is India,” Campbell said, referring to the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue among the U.S., Japan, India and Australia.

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Security Challenges of Climate Change in Southeast Asia

Photo: REZAS/AFP/Getty Images
by Murray Hiebert (Senior Associate, Southeast Asia Program) and Danielle Fallin (Program Coordinator and Research Assistant, Southeast Asia Program)

A 1.5-degree Celsius increase in global warming poses an immediate threat to Southeast Asia’s economic, political, and health security. Mitigating the effects of climate change is key to the United States’ goal to secure a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Southeast Asia will be one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change unless countries make dramatic cuts in greenhouse gas pollution. According to a 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a global warming increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) will cause rising seas, dangerous flooding, and changing rain patterns leading to violent typhoons and drought. Global warming poses a threat to food security, hobbles economic growth, prompts political instability, and catalyzes pandemics. In extreme cases, it can create an environment conducive to terrorist activities.

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Powers, Norms, and Institutions: The Future of the Indo-Pacific from a Southeast Asia Perspective

Results of a CSIS Survey of Strategic Elites

June 9, 2020

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

Situated at the heart of the Indo-Pacific, Southeast Asia has, in recent years, become the bellwether for the region, including the future of democratic governance. External powers, including the United States and China, have ramped up engagement with Southeast Asia and now compete for influence in the region. Amid these geopolitical shifts, Southeast Asian perspectives on dynamics that will shape the future of the region more than ever before.

In late 2019, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) conducted a survey of strategic elites in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand as well as Fiji to understand how the region views trends related to power, norms, and institutions. In early 2020, CSIS conducted extensive analysis of the survey data and convened a workshop in Sydney, Australia, to further examine the results with leading experts from the countries surveyed, as well as Australia and the United States. This report presents key findings from the survey and workshop on the strategic landscape in Southeast Asia and the future of power and influence and challenges faced by the region.

This report is made possible by the generous support from the Australian Department of Defence and the Australian Embassy, Washington, D.C.

Southeast Asia is the world’s bilge dumping hotspot—what can be done to stop ships discharging waste oil?

eco-business.com

Satellite images have revealed the illegal discharge of waste oil and sludge from ships to be a daily occurrence in Indonesia, while Southeast Asia’s biodiverse waters suffer more from the problem than anywhere. What can be done to stop the destructive practice of bilge dumping?

Piracy. Illegal fishing. Slavery. The issues facing the shipping trade are increasingly well known and a highly traditional industry has at last started to confront them. But one important issue, which is as old as the trade itself, has been largely overlooked: bilge dumping.
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Indonesian environment ministry ends WWF partnership amid public spat

Southeast Asia in 2020: Issues to Watch, Part 1

CSIS.org

January 14, 2020

In this two-part series, Dr. Amy Searight, senior adviser and director of the CSIS Southeast Asia Program, previews five key issues to watch in Southeast Asia in 2020. This installment addresses U.S.-ASEAN relations, climate change and the imperiled Mekong, and domestic politics. The next installment will cover economic trends and developments in the digital space.

Can Trump Reset U.S.-ASEAN Relations?

Disappointingly, 2019 was a pretty bad year for U.S.-ASEAN relations. Trump had a promising start in his first year in office, hosting four Southeast Asian leaders in the White House, traveling to Vietnam and the Philippines to unveil his “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” vision, and holding a U.S.-ASEAN summit. But Trump’s interest in Southeast Asia has since appeared to wane considerably. Although Trump traveled to Vietnam in February for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, he later called Vietnam the “single worst abuser” in trade relations with the United States. In November, President Trump skipped the East Asian Summit (EAS) for the third straight year, sending National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien instead. Trump’s absence in Bangkok and the historically low level of diplomatic representation at the summit ruffled a lot of feathers within ASEAN and led most of the Southeast Asian leaders to snub the U.S.-ASEAN summit held on the sidelines of the EAS (only Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos attended at the leader level). ASEAN’s disenchantment with the level of U.S. engagement came just as China was gaining new traction in the region, with a revamped Belt and Road Initiative that appeared to address regional concerns and progress toward launching the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade agreement between ASEAN, China, and four other regional trade partners.
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The State of Southeast Asia 2019

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Abstract: The ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute conducted the “State of Southeast Asia: 2019” online survey between 18 November and 5 December 2018 to seek the views of Southeast Asians onregional affairs. The survey used the purposive sampling method, canvassing views from a total of 1,008 Southeast Asians who are regional experts and stakeholders from the policy, research, business, civil society, and media communities. As such, the results of this survey are not meant to be representative. Rather, it aims to present a general view of prevailing attitudes among those in a position to inform or influence policy on regional political, economic and social issues and concerns.

The survey is divided into five sections.

The first section sketches out the nationality and affiliation of the respondents.

Section II explores the political and economic outlook for 2019, as well as providing views on major developments in the year ahead and security concerns. Some of the issues covered in this section include the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the US-China trade war, denuclearisation in the Korean Peninsula and Rohingya issue.

Section III examines major power relations in the region, with a specific focus on the US and China.

Section IV looks into the region’s perception of the major powers (China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia and the US) and provides some clues as to which major power does the region trust the most (or the least).

The survey concludes with Section V which looks at three aspects of soft power – tertiary education, tourism and foreign language – as proxies of the major powers’ influence in Southeast Asia.