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 Welcome to ISIS Thailand !

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 Events Summary 2019

ISIS Co-organized Public Forum on "China on Responsible Global Superpower?" - 27 March 2019 at 09.00-12.00 

Venue is Room 209, Faculty of Economic, Chulalongkorn University 
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A Public Forum - Thailand's ASEAN Chair: Challenges Ahead 

As is widely known, Thailand is ASEAN’s rotational chair for 2019. Thailand’s foreign policy team has geared up for this task for many months and is poised to carry out its duties in view of ASEAN’s myriad challenges from the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and the South China Sea to the regional navigation of the United States-China trade conflict. Global geopolitical tensions are on the rise, and ASEAN is in the thick of it. This public forum is intended to examine and explore Thailand’s challenges and opportunities as ASEAN Chair with a forward-looking view as how to best perform for the benefit of both ASEAN and its co-founder and birthplace. 
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A Public Forum - Thirty and Hungry for Change: Meet the New Faces of Thai Politics 

Thailand’s looming election on 24 March has been highly participated, as the last completed poll took place in July 2011. This election will see more than seven million first-time voters among the 51-million electorate. Voices of the young and the new generation will count significantly, perhaps more than in previous polls. This seminar will feature three new politicians who are “young and hungry” for change in Thai politics and who are associated with Oxford Thai Foundation and LSE in Thailand. 
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A Public Forum - An Uneasy Peace: China Power in A Divided World 

Amidst the ongoing global unravel and power shifts, underpinned by geopolitical tensions and issues such as the “trade war” between the United States and China, the rules-based liberal international order as we know it is under severe stress. It appears that, unless the international order is fundamentally readjusted and reformed, geopolitical tensions and geo-economics contestation are likely to deteriorate to the detriment of all concerned. Central to mitigating, resolving and finding ways forward is the US-China relationship. As US views are well known from the international media and other sources, this public forum takes opportunity from a visit to Bangkok by prominent Chinese think-tank and academic experts to provide Chinese perspectives on geopolitics and geo-economics. The Chinese experts are led by Tsinghua University’s Dr Yan Xuetong, who has been convening China’s premier World Peace Forum. Dr Yan has recently published a widely circulated article on China’s global outlook in Foreign Affairs, which forms the basis of our forum’s title (https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2018-12-11/age-uneasy-peace). 
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 Articles

(May 3, 2019) Rail deals must have accountability - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's recent participation in the second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing was problematic on many levels. On what basis did Gen Prayut negotiate a rail deal between Thailand and China? What are the details and cost-benefit considerations of this deal? The lack of transparency and public accountability surrounding the Thailand and China rail plan is likely to pose future questions and problems for a huge infrastructure project Thailand can use, but according to whose terms its people must be the main beneficiary. 
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(April 30, 2019) How Jakarta's rise will impact region - Kavi Chongkittavorn 

The re-election of Indonesian President Joko Widodo has positive implications for Indonesia and Asean as a whole. The president, popularly known as Jokowi, will have five exciting years to shape Indonesia's future and international profile to his liking. Obviously, with the second term limit, he will be bolder and more assertive, both at home and abroad. 
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(April 26, 2019) Poll results point to clear way forward - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 

Despite the controversy and confusion over Thailand's March 24 election outcome, its immediate and far-reaching implications are indisputable. 
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(April 23, 2019) Engaging with China on infrastructure - Kavi Chongkittavorn 

Later this week, 37 heads of state and government, as well as 5,000 participants from over 150 countries, will converge on Beijing for the second Belt and Road Initiative Forum for International Cooperation. The mammoth gathering of dignitaries and policymakers is crucial for the five-year-old BRI to gain wider recognition and power to move onto the next cycle with new lessons learned and adjustments made. For President Xi Jinping, it will be a moment of truth for his leadership and China's dream. 
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(April 16, 2019) Understanding Japan's Indo-Pacific initiative - Kavi Chongkittavorn 

After making painstaking revisions in the past 18 months, Japan has come out with the region's most comprehensive policy -- the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) initiative. 
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(April 9, 2019) Asean-S Korea ties surging forward - Kavi Chongkittavorn 

South Korea is catching up with China and Japan in developing all-around relations with Asean. Last week's announcement of the third Asean-Korea Summit to be held in Busan from Nov 25-27 together with the first Mekong-Korea Summit is a speed indicator of South Korea's approach to Asean. Under current President Moon Jae-in, South Korean officials have described bilateral relations as going gosog, or high-speed. 
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(April 5, 2019) Election augurs end of the Thaksin era - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 

It could have happened in August 2001, but Thailand has taken nearly two wasted decades to see the back of Thaksin Shinawatra. 
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(April 2, 2019) China's BRI push marred by trust deficit - Kavi Chongkittavorn 

As China's economic and political clout grows by the day, Europe finds it increasingly difficult to develop an overall approach with dual objectives -- one that does not undermine its unity or upset its ally across the Atlantic, the US. Some European Union members want to take a tougher stand against China due to its limited market access, while others are concerned about possible security threats posed by China's sophisticated 5G network. 
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(March 26, 2019) Post-poll policy: Dynamic continuity - Kavi Chongkittavorn 

Speculation is rife about imminent changes in Thailand's diplomatic direction after five years of military-ruled guidance. Political pundits and campaigners ahead of the polls last week also sent out strong signals that they expect a new cabinet in Government House with new policies. One of the casualties would be Thai-Chinese ties, which have progressed and strengthened without waveringly over the past five years. However, the outcome of Sunday's election indicates that whichever parties form the next civilian government, there will be little effect on the country's foreign relations or the current Asean chair. Indeed, Thailand's foreign policy will become more dynamic with continuity. 
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(March 20, 2019) Election highlights crisis of Thai junta rule - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 

As Thailand heads to the poll on March 24 for the first time in nearly eight years, almost five of them under Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha after his 2014 military coup, the political stakes have never been higher. 
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