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  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: High-level US efforts to convince Burma's military government to open its political system to the democratic opposition and release political prisoners prior to scheduled 2010 elections accelerated this quarter. President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and Assistant Secretary of State Campbell all weighed in during meetings in Burma and at the first ASEAN-US summit in Singapore after the annual APEC leaders meeting. The ASEAN states welcomed the first US summit with all 10 members. Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan noted that President Obama's praise for ASEAN's key role in Asian international organizations debunked claims by some that ASEAN is no longer the centerpiece of the region's architecture. Singapore's prime minister insisted that the US continues to be Asia's “indispensable” player despite the rise of China and India. In the Philippines, the Visiting Forces Agreement continues to be a political football in domestic Philippine politics as President Arroyo's political opponents claim that the US military violates the Philippine constitution by engaging in combat – an allegation denied by both the US embassy and the Philippine government. On a tip from the US, Thai authorities detained a cargo aircraft coming from North Korea with a load of sophisticated weapons in violation of a UN Security Council Resolution.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea, Philippines, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huan
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China was on the defensive this quarter, reacting to interventions by the US, including a notable statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in Hanoi regarding the South China Sea. The ARF meeting also saw a new US commitment, backed by ASEAN, to participate actively in the East Asian Summit, raising the profile of that regional body over China‟s preference for Asian-only regional groups. Further complicating China‟s regional calculus were prominent advances in US relations with Vietnam shown during celebrations of a US-Vietnam anniversary in August that involved exercises with a US aircraft carrier deployed near disputed regions of the South China Sea. Chinese officials and commentary in Chinese media at first countered that the US actions were self-serving and destabilizing. Those attacks meshed with public Chinese attacks on concurrent US military exercises with South Korean forces in reaction to North Korea‟s sinking of a South Korean warship. Later, some Chinese commentary dissented from the harsh public approach, and by the end of the quarter, the criticism of the US and others over the South China Sea disputes and other issues subsided. For the time being at least, it appeared that China will remain focused on publicly stressing trade and reassuring diplomacy in Southeast Asia, while defending its territorial claims and continuing to build military capabilities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Indonesia, part of her initial overseas journey to Asia, was enthusiastically received in the world's most populous Muslim country. The secretary praised Indonesia's thriving democracy as evidence of the compatibility of Islam and political pluralism. Noting Southeast Asia's importance to the U.S., Clinton announced that the State Department would begin consideration of a process to sign ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, a prerequisite for membership in the East Asia Summit. She also acknowledged that Washington's harsh sanctions against Burma's military junta had not changed that regime's draconian rule but also pointed out that ASEAN's engagement strategy was equally impotent. Nevertheless, she stated that the U.S. would consult with ASEAN in the process of reviewing its Burma policy. Meanwhile, ASEAN held its 14th summit in Thailand at the end of February. While the global economic crisis dominated the agenda, the future of a human rights commission mandated by ASEAN's new Charter proved the most contentious, with the more authoritarian ASEAN members insisting that noninterference in domestic affairs should remain the underlying principle of any human rights body.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Indonesia, East Asia, Burma, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Southeast Asian and broader international attention focused in March on the confrontation between five Chinese government ships and the U.S. surveyor ship USNS Impeccable in the South China Sea near Hainan Island. U.S. and Chinese protests and related media commentary highlighted for Southeast Asian audiences a pattern of U.S. surveillance to learn more about China's growing military presence and activities in the area, and a pattern of China's unwillingness to tolerate such actions in areas where it claims rights that are disputed by the U.S. and other naval powers. The protests and commentary provided a vivid backdrop for China's continued efforts to claim and defend territory in the South China Sea that is also claimed by Southeast Asian nations. Meanwhile, there was little good news on the economic front as China's international trade and economic interchange with Southeast Asia continued to fall rapidly. Chinese diplomatic and political attention to the region remained low during the quarter.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The cancellation of a draft peace agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine government triggered renewed violence in the Philippine south and allegations that U.S. forces are involved in Philippine armed forces suppression activities. Both Manila and Washington deny the charges, though U.S. Special Operations Forces have been training the Philippine military in Mindanao since 2002. The U.S. has added new sanctions against Burma's junta and continues to criticize its political repression, while aid for the victims of Cyclone Nargis remains under the Burmese military's control. Ratification for ASEAN's new Charter by its member states has been achieved by eight of the 10 countries. The delays include concerns in the Indonesian and Philippine legislatures about Burma's detention of Aung San Suu Kyi as well as the junta's insistence that any ASEAN Human Rights Commission be toothless. The U.S. State Department has expressed concern over the Malaysian government's arrest of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on suspicious sodomy charges. Malaysian leaders responded angrily that the U.S. complaint constitutes interference in Kuala Lumpur's domestic politics and that Washington is not “the policeman of the world.”
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Burma, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: July 1, 2008: President Hu Jintao meets Thai Prime Minister Samak Sandaravej in Beijing to deepen bilateral cooperation based on the goals set forth in the Joint Action Plan on China-Thailand Strategic Cooperation signed last May. July 2, 2008: The joint China-Philippines-Vietnam seismic study in the South China Sea, an agreement signed by the three parties as a confidence-building measure aimed at conducting joint research oil and gas prospects in the disputed Spratly Islands, formally ends. China-Southeast Asia Relations 69 October 2008 July 11, 2008: The People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Royal Thai Army begin a 20-day joint counter-terrorism training operation entitled Strike 2008 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, Singapore, Southeast Asia