ASEAN

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (back right) and Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (back left) attend a document exchange ceremony with Japan Coast Guard Commandant Shohei Ishii (front right) and Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Ronnie Gil Gavan (front left) at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 17 December 2023. Both countries leaders met on the sidelines of the Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. (Franck Robichon/Reuters)

Japan’s arms transfers to Southeast Asia: Upping the ante?

Japan's new Official Security Assistance (OSA) scheme would help arm regional countries in the face of growing Chinese assertiveness. A lesser-known aspect of OSA might actually bring some serious military capabilities to the region in the future.
Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto reacts while dancing as he claims victory after unofficial vote counts during an event to watch the results of the general election in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 14 February 2024. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

What Prabowo’s victory could mean for Indonesia-China relations

Based on current vote counts, Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto is set to clinch the Indonesian presidency after two previous losses against incumbent President Jokowi. Observers believe that Prabowo is riding on the popularity of Jokowi and could continue on the diplomatic path of non-alignment set out by the latter. Lianhe Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong takes a look at what Prabowo’s victory could mean for Indonesia-China relations.
A Philippine supply boat sails near a Chinese Coast Guard ship during a resupply mission for Filipino troops stationed at a grounded warship in the South China Sea, on 4 October 2023. (Adrian Portugal/Reuters)

[Big read] Protracted turbulence ahead in the South China Sea

With the recent statement by ASEAN foreign ministers on maintaining and promoting stability in the maritime sphere in Southeast Asia, unease caused by rising tensions in the South China Sea is once again coming to the fore. How is the situation in the South China Sea set to develop in the coming months? Would the upcoming US presidential election have a major impact?
The Philippine's Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr (left) and Vietnam's President Vo Van Thuong (right) attend a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on 30 January 2024. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Philippine President Marcos Jr's visit to Vietnam: Creating a 'united front' over South China Sea issue?

President Marcos Jr’s overtures to Vietnam during his recent visit to Hanoi seem to indicate that ASEAN claimant states are starting to “gang up” on China. But the picture is not so clear-cut, says Chinese academic Peng Nian, when one considers Vietnam’s interests and relations with China.
Chinese Premier Li Qiang speaks at the 20th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, Guangxi province, China, on 17 September 2023. (SPH Media)

China’s 'community of shared future' with Southeast Asia: Behind the numbers

Seven ASEAN member states have signed on to China’s “community of shared future” more for mutually beneficial cooperation than because they subscribe fully to the Chinese vision of a new regional order. The remaining three may prefer practical cooperation rather than to be enmeshed in China’s grand strategy and discourse.
World leaders at the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC) Leaders Meeting as part of the ASEAN-Japan 50th Year Commemorative Summit in Tokyo, Japan, on 18 December 2023. (Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore)

Japanese academic: Japan's declining national power must be considered in its security policy

While the Fukuda Doctrine introduced by former Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda was meant to promote peace and stability in Southeast Asia and ASEAN, the current approach of getting countries to choose between Japan and China might prompt ASEAN countries to hesitate from cooperating with Japan, says Japanese academic Hidekazu Wakatsuki.
The construction site of the China Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Debrecen, Hungary, on 16 August 2023. (Akos Stiller/Bloomberg)

[Big read] Global fight for lithium battery raw materials heats up

Amid the global electric vehicle (EV) race, European countries and the US are doubling down on their efforts and investment towards building an even more localised vertically integrated battery supply chain. This comes amid China dominance over the global lithium-ion battery supply chain. As the race for raw materials continues, Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Singapore can play an increasingly significant role. Lianhe Zaobao business correspondent Lai Oi Lai speaks with experts and business insiders to find out more.
Supporters await the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco, California, US, on 14 November 2023. (Jason Henry/AFP)

How changes in China's investment environment will impact the world

Japanese academic Toshiya Tsugami analyses China's recent trade and investment flows amid US-China rivalry, highlighting the EV and semiconductor sectors which have become key battlegrounds in the competition between China and the West. How will development plans for the Chinese market and the global business environment be affected?
Indonesian President Joko Widodo passes ASEAN's hammer to Laotian Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, during the closing ceremony of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 7 September 2023. (Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

Is Laos able to make a difference in the Myanmar crisis?

ISEAS academic Joanne Lin looks at the crisis in Myanmar and recommends possible strategies for Laos to move the needle on the issue, ahead of its ASEAN chairmanship next year. Namely, Laos can make use of its strong relations with China and Russia to encourage them to work and coordinate closely with ASEAN.