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Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

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Showing posts for "Singapore"

How Has the Rebalance Affected Security Assistance to Southeast Asia?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
ash-carter-philippines U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter walks past honor guards at Camp Aguinaldo to attend the closing ceremony of a U.S.-Philippine military exercise dubbed "Balikatan" (shoulder to shoulder) in Quezon City, Metro Manila, on April 15, 2016. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)

Earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited the Philippines, an increasingly important U.S. security partner. In the Philippines, where he observed the annual Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises, Carter made several important announcements. He revealed that the United States and the Philippines are, and will be, conducting joint patrols in the South China Sea. Carter also offered specifics on new U.S. assistance to the Philippines as part of the new U.S. Maritime Security Initiative for Southeast Asia, a program conceived by the Senate Armed Services Committee and designed to provide U.S. aid to Southeast Asian nations to bolster their maritime capabilities. Read more »

The Islamic State in Southeast Asia

by Joshua Kurlantzick
indonesia-islamic-state Police officers react near the site of a blast in Jakarta, Indonesia, on January 14, 2016. (Darren Whiteside/Reuters)

After the attacks in Jakarta in January, in which a group of gunmen, apparently overseen by a man affiliated with the self-declared Islamic State, shot and bombed their way through a downtown neighborhood, Southeast Asian governments began to openly address the threat of Islamic State-linked radicals. The region’s intelligence agencies, and especially Singapore intelligence, had been warning for at least two years that Southeast Asian men and women were traveling to Islamic State-controlled territory for training and inspiration, and that the region’s governments had no effective way to track these militants’ return. Read more »

The U.S.-ASEAN Summit: Final Thoughts

by Joshua Kurlantzick
U.S.-ASEAN-leaders summit-sunnylands U.S. President Barack Obama (C) is flanked by leaders from the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit during a group photo opportunity in Rancho Mirage, California, on February 16, 2016. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The U.S.-ASEAN summit earlier this week, held at Sunnylands estate in California, was overshadowed by the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, and the political debate over his possible replacement. Many Southeast Asian leaders, who had looked forward to the summit as a sign of the Obama administration’s interest in the region, as well as a kind of blessing for hardline rulers like Cambodia’s Hun Sen and Thailand’s Prayuth Chan-ocha, were probably disappointed by how little attention the summit got from the U.S. media and from many U.S. politicians and opinion leaders. Read more »

The Elephant in the US-ASEAN Room: Democracy

by Joshua Kurlantzick
US-ASEAN-summit U.S. President Barack Obama (bottom L) participates in a US-ASEAN meeting at the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 21, 2015. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Next week, at a summit in California, President Obama will meet the ten leaders of countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the most important regional group in Asia. The event, the first-ever US-ASEAN summit on American soil, is being touted by the White House as a sign of the importance of Southeast Asia. After all, the Obama administration has made relations with Southeast Asia a centerpiece of “the pivot,” or “rebalance to Asia,” a national security strategy that entails shifting American military, economic, and diplomatic resources to the Pacific Rim. Read more »

Southeast Asia’s Democratic Regression and the Rise of Islamic State-Linked Militants

by Joshua Kurlantzick
indonesia-islamic state Antiterror police walk as one carries a box with items retrieved from the house of a suspected militant involved in an attack in Jakarta, in Sampit, Indonesia Central Kalimantan province, on January 16, 2016. (Norjani/Antara Foto/Reuters)

Read Part 2 here and Part 3 here Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Five Stories From the Week of January 22, 2016

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Bacha-Khan-protest Civil society members take part in protest against the attack on Bacha Khan University at a demonstration in Peshawar, Pakistan, January 21, 2016. (Khuram Parvez/Reuters)

Rachel Brown, Lincoln Davidson, Ariella Rotenberg, Ayumi Teraoka, Gabriel Walker, and James West look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. Terrorists kill twenty-one in attack on Pakistani university. On Wednesday, gunmen stormed Bacha Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Charsadda district, killing twenty-one people and injuring dozens more. Four attackers were killed in an hours-long gun battle with security guards, local police, and the army in the attempt to secure the campus. Read more »

Singapore’s Ruling Party Defies the Odds

by Joshua Kurlantzick
Lee Hsien Loong_Singapore_elections Singapore's Prime Minister and Secretary-General of the People's Action Party (PAP) Lee Hsien Loong is greeted with a dragon dance as he thanks supporters after the general election in Singapore on September 12, 2015. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

When Singapore split from Malaysia in 1965, becoming an independent city-state, its first elections were won by the People’s Action Party (PAP), then headed by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who had overseen the country’s separation from Britain and its divorce from Malaysia. This victory was hardly a surprise: The PAP had won elections going back to 1959, when Singapore was still technically part of Britain, though it was getting self-rule. Read more »

Singapore’s Election Apparently Delivers Big Result for Ruling Party

by Joshua Kurlantzick
A People's Action Party supporter celebrates the general election results at a stadium in Singapore September 12, 2015. Singapore voted on Friday in its most hotly contested general election with the outcome expected to test the long-ruling People's Action Party's (PAP) dominance of politics even though it is bound to win. REUTERS/Edgar Su A People's Action Party supporter celebrates the general election results at a stadium in Singapore September 12, 2015. Singapore voted on Friday in its most hotly contested general election with the outcome expected to test the long-ruling People's Action Party's (PAP) dominance of politics even though it is bound to win. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

In the run-up to Friday’s general elections in Singapore, the first since 2011, many foreign analysts, and some Singaporean experts, predicted that the long-ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) would suffer a significant defeat. After losing its first group member constituency in 2011, the PAP could have lost even more group constituencies to the opposition, led by the Workers Party. Some analysts predicted that the PAP’s share of the popular vote would fall to its lowest point in history, even if the PAP remained in power in Singapore’s parliament.
Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of September 11, 2015

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
singapore-elections-9-11-15 Singapore's Prime Minister and Secretary-General of the People's Action Party Lee Hsien Loong (C) celebrates with supporters after the general election results at a stadium in Singapore September 12, 2015. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

Ashlyn Anderson, Rachel Brown, Lincoln Davidson, Ariella Rotenberg, Ayumi Teraoka, and Gabriel Walker look at the top stories in Asia this week.

1. Singapore’s historic elections. Singaporeans took to the polls today in the first general parliamentary election in the country’s history in which every constituency is contested. The People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled the country since it was expelled from Malaysia in 1965 and held more than 90 percent of the seats in parliament prior to the election, won a majority of seats again. Read more »

What to Expect From the Next Government in Singapore

by Joshua Kurlantzick
singapore-elections Secretary-General of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) Lee Hsien Loong takes a selfie with supporters after a lunchtime rally at the central business district in Singapore on September 8, 2015. Singaporeans will go to the polls on September 11. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

Singapore’s long-ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has called a snap election for September 11, well in advance of the five year term it is allotted. As I noted in a piece this week for World Politics Review, the PAP is probably gambling that the outpouring of emotion in Singapore after the death of founding father Lee Kuan Yew in March will reflect well on the PAP and its record of governance, and will help it in the election. The year of 50th anniversary celebrations of the city-state’s independence also may well add a shine to the PAP’s credentials. Read more »