Vietnam has pushed domestic vaccine development in part to reduce reliance on any single foreign source. But its willingness to share vaccine technology and support production abroad may help raise the country’s geopolitical status among the developing world.
Vietnam has announced its candidacy to join the UN Human Rights Council, basing its case mostly on the country’s successful containment of COVID-19. However, when it comes to Vietnam’s own human rights record, the government has done everything to curtail people’s fundamental civil and political rights.
Southeast Asia’s electric vehicle and battery industries are quickly gaining momentum, as manufacturers in Thailand and Vietnam scale up production and high-profile foreign investors like Tesla and Nissan show increasing interest.
Mitsubishi has pulled its support for a coal power plant in Vietnam following major pressure from investors and activists over the company’s fossil fuel investments. The decision comes as firms across Southeast Asia face intense scrutiny for environmental and social impacts and shareholders leverage their influence.
The Mekong’s normal flow can be restored if large volumes of water are consistently and reliably released from Chinese dam reservoirs. However, China’s water policy shows Beijing is unlikely to change its behavior and the worst for the Mekong is yet to come.
Southeast Asian governments remain divided about how to regulate cryptocurrencies even as the popularity of digital assets surges. Regulators need to take concrete steps as cryptocurrencies increase the threat of online financial fraud and have been used to fund terrorism.
A new report shows rising trust in the US among Southeast Asia’s upper classes, along with anxiety about China’s dominance and a continued commitment to neutrality.
Vietnam faces some of the greatest and most urgent threats from climate change of any country in the world. However, a number of new initiatives are starting to address these challenges, ranging from a national transition to green energy to a UN-backed push for sustainable urban development.
China has found major buyers for its COVID-19 vaccines in Southeast Asia, even after studies of its Sinovac vaccine have reported wildly divergent efficacy results. The growing acceptance of Beijing’s vaccine without globally-recognized clinical trial results may end up undermining China’s image as a credible vaccine supplier.
Southeast Asia appears open to blockchain technology and the digitization of currency despite the fact that the majority of the public remains reliant on cash.