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Russia Injects New Enthusiasm in Ties with ASEAN

Russia’s relations with ASEAN have tended to trail behind those of dialogue partners like the United States, China and Japan. But the Sochi Summit shows how Russia, grappling with unfavourable political and economic environments around it, wants ties with ASEAN to now go full throttle, says Kavi Chongkittavorn in this analysis for the Reporting ASEAN series.

Myanmar’s Deep Fissures Make Explosive Powder Keg

A sense of apprehension and impatience, at times reluctantly expressed but nevertheless real, is fast tempering the heady optimism about Myanmar’s political change nearly two months into the Aung San Suu Kyi-led government. Johanna Son analyses the reasons behind this feeling of discomfort in this piece for the ‘Bangkok Post’.

MYANMAR: Suu Kyi-led Gov’t Has Its Hands Full

Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi led her party to a decisive landslide victory in last year’s elections in Myanmar. Democracy may have won but real struggles regarding governance will be the true test of her leadership. Mia Gomez looks at the challenges the new government faces in this story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond”‘ programme.

South China Sea: Who Occupies What in the Spratlys?

The discourse over the South China Sea disputes never abates as there is still no real clarity about who occupies what in the huge-contested Spratly Islands. Alexander L. Vuving of ‘The Diplomat’ attempts to list what different countries occupy in the South China Sea.

ASEAN Strives to Balance Ties With China, Japan

As a result of souring China-Japan ties, ASEAN finds itself being wooed by its dialogue partners. The deterioration in the two countries’ relations has led to the economic giants increasing their efforts to strengthen ties with the regional grouping. Kavi Chongkittavorn looks at ASEAN’s reaction in this commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.

Burma’s Puppeteers Put On Cross-Asean Performance

ASEAN integration comes in many forms – in this case, it’s with puppets. Puppet artists and musicians from around the region met with their counterparts in Myanmar to learn from each other and exchange ideas. Kyaw Hsu Mon of ‘The Irrawaddy’ looks at the outcome of the workshop in this ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ story.

Voter Anger, Frustration Drove Duterte to the Presidency

Anger and frustration – the feeling of being totally fed up – has been consistent through the recent presidential campaign in the Philippines, leading to the victory of a guy viewed as an outsider to the political culture, a rebel, a political heretic. Johanna Son looks at why voters chose Rodrigo Duterte as their next president in this ‘Bangkok Post’ commentary.

Vietnam: CSR Picking Up, Slowly but Surely

Introduced about a decade ago, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) remains a relatively new concept in Vietnam’s business community. Khổng Loan takes a look at how it can be further implemented in the country in this story for the ‘CSR in the ASEAN Community’, Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond programme.

Burma’s Media Landscape Through the Years

Recent years have seen dramatic changes to Burma’s media environment, with the previous quasi-civilian government taking steps to unshackle a press corps long muzzled by successive military regimes dating back to 1962. In the wake of World Press Freedom Day, The Irrawaddy revisits a media history stretching back to the 1800s in this article.

Bearing Offers of Help, China Woos Mekong Nations

China is stepping up its charm offensive in Southeast Asia, using water diplomacy to package itself as a regional power eager to help drought-hit Mekong countries and assist smaller ASEAN countries in narrowing the development gap within the region. Mia Gomez looks at the ASEAN response to this overture in this story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series.

Japan Announces 244 Billion Baht Plan to Develop Mekong Region

On the heels of China’s overtures to ASEAN and Mekong countries, comes Japan’s answer — a 244 billion baht new cooperation fund for the region. Tassanee Vejpongsa of the Associated Press explains how the initiative will help promote “connectivity” within ASEAN countries and Japan through funding in infrastructure and development of human resources.

Vietnam’s Media Puts Its Own Touch on ASEAN Stories

For many, ASEAN conjures up an image of stuffy and serious meetings featuring staid politicians. Thus, finding topics that resonate with media consumers is a challenge that editors constantly face in their coverage of ASEAN-related news. Candida Ng finds out how Vietnamese media professionals approach this in this piece for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series.

Communication Arts Seminar: Reporting ASEAN

‘ASEAN’ is often seen as being a faceless organisation far removed from people’s daily lives, one that is mostly about states instead of people – and a boring subject for media. How can media redefine what makes for ‘ASEAN news’ and tell stories that look into the benefits and costs of ASEAN integration? Come listen to Johanna Son at Bangkok University on May 18 as she shares her experiences on reporting news in the ASEAN region.

Obituary: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (1967-2016)

The dispute in the South China Sea issue has already climbed up several notches in ASEAN’s agenda over the last few years. China will try different diplomatic means to push its agenda, as Philip Bowring of the Asia Sentinel argues regarding its attempts to present Brunei, Laos and Cambodia as sympathetic to its side on the maritime feud.

 

Mekong Cooperation, China-style

The China-led Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) mechanism, which had its first leaders’ summit in March 2016, may sound boring but has big implications for water governance in the Mekong region, and for dividing ASEAN states in their dealings with China. In this commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series, Johanna Son says that  the Beijing-dominated forum that is far from neutral for smaller states. LMC could also undercut the ASEAN centrality the organisation so values.

From the Editor: Labour Day 2016 issue

Welcome to the Labour Day 2016 issue of The ASEAN Beat, a publication produced by the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ program! In this issue, we bring together a diverse mix of features, analyses and video reports around ASEAN and the different facets of labour migration. Happy reading, and a work-free Labour Day!

Reintegration: the Forgotten Side of Migration in ASEAN

The reintegration of Southeast Asia’s migrant workers is as important as their departure and the remittances they send home to labour-exporting countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. But as Tess Bacalla explains in this piece for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series, ASEAN is unlikely to focus on reintegration when it is averse to addressing the issue of unskilled workers in the region in the first place.

Join the Southeast Asian Photography Masterclass

Don’t miss it! The Southeast Asian Photography Masterclass Scholarship is calling for applications. A free photography masterclass workshop for 12 photographers between the ages of 20 to 35 native to Southeast Asia, the project will culminate in a final workshop at OBSCURA Festival 2017 and the launch of the works in a photobook. Successful applicants will have all their tuition fees and accommodation sponsored. Deadline for applications is 15 May 2016.

ASEAN Journalists Strive to Promote Regional Identity

Journalists from around Southeast Asia plan to set up a regional forum encompassing multi-platform news reporting in the pursuit of building a cohesive ASEAN identity among members of the public. Liza Yosephine of the The Jakarta Post finds out more about the proposed forum.

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