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India-Japan imbroglio: the missing link
February 10, 2014 1:00 am

India-Japan imbroglio: the missing link

When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the guest of honor on the Republic Day last month in New Delhi, India has clearly and carefully chosen Japan to form an active strategic partner. It might sound a bit passé these days to refer to such...

Yasukuni Shrine and Abe's psyche
February 3, 2014 1:00 am

Yasukuni Shrine and Abe's psyche

A stroll inside the controversial Yasukuni Jinja (Shrine) provides a window to understand the psyche of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. At the huge shrine compound, there is a wooden board with messages from those who died in various battles under the...

Asean chair grapples with domestic uncertainties
January 27, 2014 1:00 am

Asean chair grapples with domestic uncertainties

Myanmar made succinctly clear the Rohingya problem would not be raised in any Asean meeting during its chairmanship this year. U Ye Htut, the spokesperson of President Thein Sein, reiterated his country's position during a press conference on...

Amid rising tension, Myanmar takes the helm of Asean
January 20, 2014 1:00 am

Amid rising tension, Myanmar takes the helm of Asean

It is extremely unusual for Asean foreign ministers to issue a statement during their "retreat", unless there is something really vexing happening. That was the case during their first informal gathering last week in Bagan under the new...

Is Thailand ready for Asean Economic Community?
January 13, 2014 1:00 am

Is Thailand ready for Asean Economic Community?

Much has been said about the AEC (Asean Economic Community) and its far-reaching implications for Thailand. During the past two years, the country has been the most active within Asean as far as the AEC campaign is concerned. As much as 8 billion...

Abe's shrine visit highlights Asean security concerns
January 6, 2014 1:00 am

Abe's shrine visit highlights Asean security concerns

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine sent mixed signals to the region. Up in the north, it immediately deepened mistrust and increased the tension in Japan's relations with China and South Korea. The...

The perils of personalised Thai diplomacy
January 2, 2014 6:34 am

The perils of personalised Thai diplomacy

Thai foreign policy in the past year has been dominated by the performance of Surapong Tovichakchaikul. The foreign minister has also doubled as deputy prime minister and, since early December, as chief of the Centre for the Administration of Peace...

2014 heralds new Great Game in Southeast Asia
December 23, 2013 1:00 am

2014 heralds new Great Game in Southeast Asia

The coming year will be tense and at times see confrontation among the major powers wanting to reach out to Southeast Asia and its vast maritime zones. Each player has set forth its game plans to preserve, and in certain cases expand, its sphere of...

Asean and Japan find new common ground
December 16, 2013 1:00 am

Asean and Japan find new common ground

The 1,512-word joint statement released by the Asean and Japanese leaders following their meeting last week in Tokyo said it all. Only the time-tested four-decade-old friendship could forge an encompassing declaration of a common vision of Asean and...

Time for the people to resume sovereignty
December 9, 2013 1:00 am

Time for the people to resume sovereignty

Much has been said and done along the 81-year-old winding road of Thailand's troubled democratic route. While Thai politics always befuddles analysts, Thai people still think democracy is the best form of government. And it shows.