ASEAN Countries

Resurgent COVID-19 Looms over Asia’s Economic Recovery

cc Flickr nagi usano, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Asia is expected to lead the way in a post-COVID global economic recovery, but a new upsurge in COVID-19 cases highlights how the region is not out of the woods yet.

Backgrounder: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

RCEP Leaders Meeting in 2017, cc Presidential Communications Operations Office, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&title=Special:Search&redirs=0&search=RCEP&fulltext=Search&fulltext=Advanced+search&ns0=1&ns6=1&ns14=1&advanced=1&searchToken=7pvr1qgz89c7ow1xz4fye3aaj#%2Fmedia%2FFile%3A2017_RCEP_Leaders%E2%80%99_Meeting_%285%29.jpg

In the RCEP trade agreement, governments across Asia have charted an economic future for themselves – one that excludes the United States.

White House Transition to Continue Trajectory of US-Vietnam Relations

Vice President Biden shakes hands with General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong at a luncheon at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on July 7, 2015. [State Department Photo/Public Domain], cc Flickr US Department of State, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vice_President_Biden_Shakes_Hands_With_General_Secretary_Nguyen_Phu_Trong_at_a_Luncheon_at_the_State_Department_(18883780193).jpg

A President Biden would be unlikely to hit the ‘reset’ button in US-China relations, which suggests progress in Washington’s partnership with Hanoi.

Opportunities and Obstacles in Qatar-Indonesia Relations

cc Flickr Šarūnas Burdulis, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

A desire to diversify export markets has pushed Indonesia and Qatar closer together in recent years, but there’s still a lot of work to do before the bilateral relationship can truly flourish.

Vietnam Economy Well Positioned for Post-COVID Surge

Ho Chi Minh City skyline, cc Flickr Sketyl none, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Vietnam is one of few nations expecting positive GDP growth in 2020. Given its apt handling of COVID-19 and ongoing US-China tensions, the country is now well placed to lead Southeast Asia’s economic recovery.

Family Ties and New Recruits: Abu Sayyaf Proves Hard to Dislodge in the Philippines

Military honors bestowed on 15 AFP soldiers killed in combat against Abu Sayyaf in 2016, public domain, ROBINSON NIÑAL/PPD, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_15_gallant_soldiers_killed_in_combat_with_the_Abu_Sayyaf_in_Sulu_are_given_full_military_honors.jpg

It was hoped the defeat of Abu Sayyaf and their Maute allies in Marawi in October 2017 would extinguish the threat of Islamist militancy in the Philippines. Three years later, ISIS-affiliated groups remain active.

COVID-19 Pushes Laos Further into China’s Economic Orbit

cc Flickr Christian Haugen, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Already heavily indebted to Beijing over Belt and Road infrastructure projects, the economic hit from COVID-19 has pushed Laos further into China’s sphere of influence.

Singapore Charts a Middle Path Amid Worsening US-China Ties

cc Flickr Pasi Mämmelä, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Singapore has always followed the middle path in its US and China relations, but with the advent of a new Cold War-esque bipolarity, that path is rapidly narrowing.

Land Rights in Cambodia and the Long Persecution of a Buddhist Monk

cc Flickr Appie Verschoor, modified, https://www.flickr.com/photos/xiffy/2781586556/in/photolist-5eNmLU-aikHeH-94b7qJ-uHbmFx-d6yfkS-3hQeyG-iavtBP-6BQpiA-dKkfPd-5UUFog-7SsmJv-aimPhD-aindxG-uHaAtV-vEoJmv-5h1ptb-nH4au2-zFFk1w-vnyR1x-qFWKnj-6r4cwt-5SJenE-vnyUMR-vDsQV1-3hPd5N-uHb1dt-uHb3fz-c7Bpbo-vE1Rat-vBHEZq-vEp66B-vDsQs7-vE1MMX-vEp2qk-uHbpvR-uHbrQa-vnryTN-5vUaCg-a1grT-5vYG6m-8j96RF-czUe43-psQWzA-b9vxW8-ki5jVX-dNY1rf-bg923D-ki58hr-oaTGgk-c7B6VQ

The personal experience of activist Luon Sovath reflects a rapidly shrinking space for political dissent in Cambodia.

Having Crushed the Opposition, Cambodia’s Hun Sen Mulls a Dynasty

Cambodia's Hun Sen, cc Flickr thierry ehrmann, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

With the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party dissolved, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son Hun Manet is quickly rising through the ranks of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

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