ASEAN’s commitment to decision-making by consensus and non-interference in the internal affairs of member states severely restricts its ability to play an effective and pro-active role in the Rohingya crisis.
New Myanmar-China and Laos-Cambodia border agreements saw leaders exploit power dynamics to push national interests that risk exacerbating ethnic conflicts and political repression.
Tensions in Rohingya refugee camps are rising following failed repatriation efforts. The Bangladeshi government’s knee-jerk responses only threaten to exacerbate the situation.
Come 2020, most of ASEAN’s citizens could find themselves paying more for digital services. Indonesia is the latest ASEAN nation to draft new tax legislation on online products and services.
Natural disasters are becoming increasingly severe, hindering poverty reduction attempts and economic growth. The UN says the Asia-Pacific region isn’t doing enough to protect itself against the risks.
Singapore’s government has effectively employed regulation to reap the benefits of the gambling sector while mitigating its dangers. The island-state holds lessons for other nations looking to do the same.
China is trying to manipulate international dispute resolution mechanisms to sew confusion and further its economic interests in the South China Sea. Its diplomatic and military activities are pushing the region closer to the brink of conflict.
The new EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (FTA) shows the EU will look past human rights violations to push a trade agenda. But as FTAs with ASEAN states don’t offer the EU the same economic benefits, it’s unlikely the bloc will pen more in the near future.
Rice merchants in Myanmar are struggling to adapt to a new barter trade deal with China. The barter deal aims to stabilise border trade but risks depriving Myanmar’s rice industry of much-needed income.
Japan and South Korea’s escalating trade war threatens regional growth. At a diplomatic meeting in Bangkok, ASEAN struggled to make a significant impact towards its resolution.