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Commentaries

singapore-airlines
A year in the world
by

I probably travelled too much this year. I went to New York, Europe, and as far away as South America, and to most of the capitals of Asia. There are limits to what telephone and video calls can do. Information is plentiful today but insight requires...

haiyan
Counting the political costs after Haiyan
by

More than a month after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, human casualties are still being counted and 3.88 million people are without permanent homes. Government efforts, earlier criticised for being too slow, are underway and multinational assistance has been ramped up. The economic and political consequences...

obama-shadow
Asia’s (re)invitation to Obama
by

Mr President, Congratulations on handling the domestic crisis of the government shutdown and debt ceiling. The problem will recur, but most see you as a winner for holding your ground. Now, about that trip you cancelled to Asia. Yes, Secretary of State John Kerry filled in but,...

xi-asean
What Asians did without Obama
by

More attention was given to United States President Barack Obama’s late decision to cancel his trip to Asia than to what the region did without him. This is testimony to America’s enduring power and the President’s prestige. Focus intensified also because of the circumstances that triggered...

obama-whitehouse
An unfortunate twist in the US pivot
by

American President Barack Obama was due to tour Asia next week to attend two key multilateral summits and visit two other countries — Malaysia and the Philippines. The White House initially described this as an “on-going commitment”, building on the American pivot to emphasise ties...

mindef-ng-eng-hen-palembang-2-600
The haze: What governments must do – and what they can’t
by

As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Environment Ministers meet this week in Jakarta to discuss the haze, there are reasons to doubt governments will address key issues decisively. Cynics point out that the number of hot spots has again been growing in Sumatra. While...

indonesia
Indonesia’s Woes are ASEAN’s Problems
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Some fear that Indonesia is heading for a crisis. Growth in the second quarter dropped below 6 per cent. Deficits in both the current account and trade widened markedly. The rupiah fell some 10 per cent last month to its lowest level against the US...

xi-lee
China and ASEAN: Will it be cooperation or conflict?
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Rising tensions in the South China Sea have changed the tenor of recent relations between the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China from cooperation to potential conflict. Yet, there is now agreement to begin consultations on a Code of Conduct. Since his appointment, Chinese...

abe-lee
Abenomics, Asia & ASEAN
by

Japan has received more attention and generated more optimism in the first six months of 2013 than perhaps during all of the preceding six years. This has been triggered by the return of Shinzo Abe as prime minister of Japan for a second time and...