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Southeast Asia Links: SLD15, Myanmar census, boat crisis, 'friends' of Thailand and more

Southeast Asia Links: SLD15, Myanmar census, boat crisis, 'friends' of Thailand and more
Published 2 Jun 2015   Follow @elliotbrennan

  • The Shangri La Dialogue occupied discussions in the region this week, made more timely by the release of China's white paper on military strategy. Opening remarks by Singapore's PM (below) and US Secretary of Defense set a tone of tougher talk on the South China Sea. This was largely supported by Kevin Andrews' speech and rebuked in remarks by China's representative, Admiral Sun Jianguo. See Beijing's further six-point rebuke of Carter's remarks.
  • CogitAsia's take on the opening plenariess here and here (and on The Interpreter: herehere and here). 
  • Vietnam's fourth Kilo-class submarine is undertaking sea trials.
  • Ashton Carter, during a visit to Vietnam, announced the US would provide $18 million to help Hanoi buy patrol boats.
  • The Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean (read 'boat crisis') was held in Bangkok. Three countries (Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia) didn't send ministers. Opening remarks by the Thai Foreign Minister here, the meeting's explanatory press release, and a look at the result by Matthew Davies.
  • How the Rohingya refugee crisis is testing Malaysia's ASEAN chairmanship.
  • Myanmar released its census data this week, minus data on religion and some ethnic groups such as the Rohingya. Melissa Crouch spoke at ANU on Islam and the state in Myanmar.
  • New impetus for an ASEAN Peacekeeping Force?
  • The Bangsamore Basic Law, the draft of which is hoped to be approved by 11 June, is facing some final hurdles.
  • At least 15 were injured in twin explosions in Sulu.
  • Thailand's junta pulled together twelve nations in a bid to build a new diplomatic bloc – called 'Friends of Thailand' – offering international support for the regime. It's a less than stellar list.  

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