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US LACKS COHERENT POLICIES on Thailand
April 27, 2015 7:19 pm

US LACKS COHERENT POLICIES on Thailand

The US Principal Deputy Assistant State Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, Scot Marciel, was in Bangkok last week to exchange views with Thai authorities and stakeholders. Like his boss, US Secretary of State John Kerry, he wanted to know...

Relations with major powers shake-up the status quo
April 13, 2015 1:00 am

Relations with major powers shake-up the status quo

Following the power seizure last May, Thailand has actively pursued a foreign policy that effectively "seeks out friends". After months of being bogged down by the establishment of proper frameworks for economic and political reform and...

Thailand ponders digging Kra Isthmus - again!
March 30, 2015 1:00 am

Thailand ponders digging Kra Isthmus - again!

No issue in Thailand's history has generated such a long and inconclusive debate as the one surrounding the fate of Kra Isthmus. For the past 358 years, since the time of King Narai (1633-1688) when it was first raised with France, the desire to...

Medvedev's trip reboots Thai-Russia strategic partnership
March 23, 2015 1:00 am

Medvedev's trip reboots Thai-Russia strategic partnership

In 1897, when Siam faced imminent danger from the great colonising powers of Great Britain and France, King Chulalongkorn went to Russia for diplomatic support to ward off the foreign predators. Since then the balance of power strategy preserved the...

Thailand woos India: time for an Act West policy
March 16, 2015 1:00 am

Thailand woos India: time for an Act West policy

At the Delhi Dialogue VII last week, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn was actively engaging India. He was the most senior Asean official to attend this year's dialogue, showing Thailand's strong...

Asean common time - your time or my time?
March 2, 2015 1:00 am

Asean common time - your time or my time?

Every time Malaysia takes up the Asean chair, a number of exciting topics always arise. This occasion is no exception - one such issue is Asean common time (ACT), an old idea which was discussed twice in 1995 and 2005. Singapore raised the idea back...

Asean must be prudent on Islamic State
February 23, 2015 12:09 am

Asean must be prudent on Islamic State

With a few hundred fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines active in the Islamic States (IS) in Syria and Iraq, Asean must take concrete action now to tackle the issue of their activities head-on and in comprehensive ways.

Thailand's human rights record COULD be better
February 16, 2015 1:00 am

Thailand's human rights record COULD be better

The murder of Chai Bungthonglek, a land rights activist, in Surat Thani last week has blackened Thailand in the eyes of the world and further tarnished its human rights record. Chai's murder came ahead of the 28th session of the UN Human Rights...

Surge in Sino-Thai security cooperation
February 9, 2015 1:00 am

Surge in Sino-Thai security cooperation

Last week China dispatched top two senior security officials to deliver a heart-warming message to Thailand: that China is an all-weather friend. They urged Thai officials at all levels to have more exchanges with them to promote understanding and...

Quick actions needed to repair Thai-US friction
February 2, 2015 1:00 am

Quick actions needed to repair Thai-US friction

Thailand's outrage over the comments last week by Daniel Russel, Assistant State Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, and subsequent responses from the US, showed that the 182-year-old relationship was in deep trouble and must be fixed...