Southeast Asia

An aerial view shows Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)'s multi-purpose destroyer Izumo (DDH-183) leading the fleet during the International Fleet Review to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the JMSDF, at Sagami Bay, off Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan, 6 November 2022. (Kyodo/via Reuters)

Japan's move towards acquisition of strike capabilities could benefit Southeast Asia

Japan is considering the deployment of non-nuclear counter-strike capabilities in the face of growing threats from North Korea and China. Japanese academic Yoichiro Sato believes that for Southeast Asian countries, this might be a win-win situation in terms of maintaining the region’s non-nuclear stance, yet retaining the option of bringing US-Japanese allied capabilities to bear in contingencies.
People and traffic pass near a marketplace in Taipei, Taiwan, 4 August 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Why Taiwan's New Southbound Policy has failed to achieve its goals

Taiwanese academic Hung-Jeng Tsai analyses decades of Taiwan’s Southbound Policy, now embodied in the latest iteration of the New Southbound Policy under President Tsai Ing-wen. He finds that despite the fanfare, few benefits have been won for Taiwan.
ASEAN leaders at the opening ceremony of the 40th and 41st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits in Phnom Penh on 11 November 2022. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

APEC, G20 and ASEAN summits: SEA nations play hosts in global diplomacy

ASEAN is set to play host to world leaders, with three major events coming up over the next two weeks in Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand. The highlight is the G20 summit in Bali, where US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet face-to-face for the first time. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong analyses what we can expect from these meetings.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, wearing traditional Bangka Belitung outfit, greets parliament members after delivering his annual State of the Nation Address ahead of the country's Independence Day, at the parliament building in Jakarta, Indonesia, 16 August 2022. (Tatan Syuflana/Reuters)

Will Indonesia establish a University of Confucianism?

The Joko Widodo administration recently announced plans to establish the International State University of Confucianism in Bangka Belitung province. This plan has however been strongly opposed by the local Aliansi Ulama Islam (Islamic Ulama Alliance, or AUI). The success of the plan to establish the university is probably contingent on whether Joko Widodo remains in power. Should a conservative Muslim politician be elected as the next president, it is unlikely that this university will be built.
US President Joe Biden (facing camera, third from right) meets with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin (fourth from right), and Defence Department leaders to discuss national security priorities, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on 26 October 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

Biden’s National Security Strategy: An Asia-first strategy codified by Europeanists

Washington’s new National Security Strategy has been carefully crafted, but the document hosts a number of inherent tensions. Foremost among them is the fact that putting democracy at the center of a strategy that is increasingly Asia-focused is ill-advised.
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (left) with Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2019, at the start of his week-long visit to China. (Ministry of Communications and Information)

Heng Swee Keat: Singapore and China will build better future for region and the world

Ahead of the 18th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meetings between Singapore and China — the first to be held in person since the outbreak of the pandemic — Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat sets out a few priorities in taking Singapore-China relations to new heights.
US President Joe Biden meets with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York City, US, on 22 September 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

Can the Philippines stay neutral in a Taiwan Strait military confrontation between the US and China?

Philippine academic Renato Cruz De Castro asserts that the Philippines will have to fall back on the strength of the Philippines-US alliance in the face of a possible US-China armed stand-off in the Taiwan Strait.
Collyer Quay in the 1950s. Directly ahead is Cavenagh Bridge built in 1870, with Anderson Bridge further on. On the right is the General Post Office of the British colonial period, today the Fullerton Hotel. As Singapore was an important international commercial port, many goods were subject to shipping tariffs, so the post office and customs department were usually connected. The post office building was named after the first Governor of the Straits Settlements, Robert Fullerton.

[Photo story] A Taiwanese collector's treasured photos of old Southeast Asia and Singapore

Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao showcases photographs of Singapore at the cusp of great change, from a more rural environment with many kelongs and farms to a bustling trade, finance and tourism hub. Through it all, the Singapore River has witnessed many of these changes, as seen in this collection.
China's President Xi Jinping and Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev pose for a picture during their meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 15 September 2022. (Press service of the President of Uzbekistan/Handout via Reuters)

Can China be both economic and security guarantor in Central Asia?

Central Asia is a linchpin between Eurasia and Southeast Asia and a strategic node in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Chinese President Xi Jinping notably visited Central Asia in his first foreign visit in over two years. But while China’s economic engagement is welcome in the region, it is currently not a confident security provider. Could things change in the near future?