Michael Hart

Michael Hart is a writer and researcher covering civil conflict, peacebuilding and war legacy issues in Southeast Asia. He has written about these issues and Asia-Pacific politics more broadly for publications including Geopolitical Monitor, The Diplomat, Asia Sentinel, World Politics Review and Southeast Asia Globe. Michael is currently editorial assistant for The Pacific Review journal, based at the University of Warwick. He previously researched for Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and studied an MA in International Relations at the University of Westminster.

New Party, Old Hurdles: Cambodian Opposition Struggles to Bounce Back

Opposition supporters wave national flags of some Western countries who were signatory parties to the 22 year old Paris Peace Agreement, Phnom Penh, Oct 24, 2013. (Heng Reaksmey/VOA Khmer), cc Heng Reaksmey, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&redirs=0&search=cambodia%20CNRP&fulltext=Search&ns0=1&ns6=1&ns14=1&title=Special:Search&advanced=1&fulltext=Advanced%20search#/media/File:CNRP_protesters_raise_flags.jpg

Several senior ex-officials of the dissolved CNRP have joined a new party. Yet given Prime Minister Hun Sen’s record of stifling opponents, their chances of electoral success are slim.

Duterte’s ‘Red-Tagging’ Risks Igniting the Philippines’ Maoist Insurgency

cc Kremlin.ru, modified, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/61718

Will the violent crackdown against Maoists real and imagined ultimately prove counter-productive?

ASEAN Diplomacy Makes Little Headway in Myanmar

VOA news, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Protesters_and_police_face_off_in_Mandalay.webp

ASEAN’s five-point consensus agreement of 24 April has done little to blunt the violence ravaging Myanmar.

From Bangkok to Nong Khai: China’s Thai Railway Vision Edges Forward

cc Flickr Clay Gilliland, modiifed, https://flickr.com/photos/26781577@N07/12250463656/in/photolist-jEwQ3C-2qW3R-NFUDY7-bKfNCR-2fhoZ5N-r3vXv-5AcMX-bvqnz5-ZNpBGt-229HjpK-6EWzkg-7uU3FZ-bvqoeY-o8BB9p-2J9U7a-21Y18NW-nxqVcw-SMR2Hc-nR85pA-bwkVem-UFWw8S-oaoHFK-osfkLV-56xkT1-imprwc-6GPrvJ-jAB5y6-osv5Fq-7uU3Dt-FfoXi-8gLjd-bRgxvg-eYt6Gc-6PZWL8-k8ohbz-h5Vdy4-6yAif3-qq9kSK-bKfqCa-KiXmcV-exVp25-JSfqfZ-4KCeqM-a6dvzw-FGPem-ZNpBGZ-ifnR7P-4phBgd-5EWns-VYjSUe

Plans for a high-speed rail line from Bangkok to the Laotian border are moving forward after Thailand signed construction contracts for phase one of the project with Chinese state-owned firms.

Will the Makassar Suicide Bombing Spark a New Wave of Terror in Indonesia?

cc Kepolisian Negara Republik Indonesia, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Polisi_officers_lineup.jpg

After a married couple linked to Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) bombed a Catholic church in Sulawesi, Indonesia is on high alert to prevent repeat attacks by Islamist militants.

US-Philippine Alliance: Duterte Demands US ‘Pay’ to Salvage Troop Deal

cc Flickr Republic of Korea, modified, https://flickr.com/photos/koreanet/28703735468/in/photolist-FtEJCQ-aFoxc8-2fP6tAW-657Esq-657Esj-657Esd-657Esf-KXvcYS-JcMnPr-JcMpfH-JcMorD-256YCLN-256YBuE-JcMrgr-27RLXJx-ChbKf8-4nShjJ-4nShis-ZKXFZb-qBEabT-5Z5d1T-5Z5d8B-5Z9pHG-5Z5cSB-24qsjaX-qkdzP2-67g7gV-ZMXa8L-27MSpQW-27MSqdu-257B5gU-KJs9wQ-ZKXG9j-PTaqsC-WPUSze-Ld2cyW-Ni1riL-ZFRVMN-ZFRWWG-YFr2LC-2jjbnEo

All of the recent frictions underpinning the US-Philippine alliance are on display in recent attempts to renegotiate the Visiting Forces Agreement.

Election Talk Heats Up in Malaysia

cc Firdaus Latif, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anwar_Ibrahim_(8730532535).jpg

Muhyiddin Yassin is clinging to power amid a COVID-19 state of emergency. A new election would test the unity of the ruling Perikatan Nasional bloc and opposition parties led by Anwar Ibrahim.

Tatmadaw Coup Leaves Myanmar’s Peace Process on a Precipice

cc VOA Burma, public domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Protesters_against_the_military_coup.jpg, modified,

Already fragile under the NLD, talks to secure peace with Myanmar’s ethnic minorities stand on the brink of collapse following the February coup.

Striking Oil Is No Antidote for What Ails Cambodia’s COVID-hit Economy

cc Flickr Glenn Beltz,modified, https://flickr.com/photos/n28307/33200942298/in/photolist-SzRvrC-2hBksnf-2hLfSNc-2i4K6EB-2i4pnnM-2dZTpah-2euF7o8-2hiVcbD-2hMrzuj-25WYghM-2eBnBvG-3KAozn-4FawhR-jiUx9-6bL1gX-6Ez632-6Ez61B-jiUqV-69vEai-ccWzWG-9pLRJn-2eG9ZZV-QmzGca-2jRZVcc-2i5SW4Q-RRrAUS-zZPeGW-2jtUuKU-A1gkT1-zZP5A9-zLKnTV-zL5akW-z7Nhas-z54Jbo-A1oxMr-z3TTDN-zMuCTj-bcTn8P-zJwQ1n-z5bJqC-A3e67q-A2REWY-RruHiW-jzaouT-A3dYCJ-zLBq9m-zahV4t-zMAc6d-A2T22W-z7msaQ

Cambodia has extracted its first crude oil from the Gulf of Thailand. Yet with oil prices low amid COVID-19 and production peaking at 7,500 barrels per day, the impact on Cambodia’s economy will be marginal.

Belt and Road: Flying Under the Radar in Indonesia?

G category high speed train (G665 to Xi'an North) at Beijing West Railway Station, China, cc Fabio Achilli from Milano, Italy, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:G_category_high_speed_train,_Beijing_West_Railway_Station,_China.jpg

While media focus fixates on other BRI infrastructure projects in Malaysia and Laos, Indonesia is quietly nearing completion of a $6 billion high-speed rail link between Jakarta and Bandung.

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