Connect with us

Asean

Should post Hillary Clinton era be a concern for Southeast Asia?

Southeast Asia’s worry is this: Clinton and Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell clearly saw the need and opportunity to engage the region, and they grasped it — firmly and decisively. The timing could not have been more important.

An ascendant China was naturally bound to test the limits of the regional influence it garnered during its effective charm offensive, kicked off after the Asian financial crisis at the end of the 1990s.

East Asia Forum

Published

on

Hillary Clinton

The Cable’s Josh Rogin shared an open secret in an edition last week, namely that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton does not plan to continue in the Obama administration should the president win a second term in office. A post-Clinton Foggy Bottom is a real concern for Southeast Asia.

Loading...

Southeast Asia’s worry is this: Clinton and Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell clearly saw the need and opportunity to engage the region, and they grasped it — firmly and decisively. The timing could not have been more important.

An ascendant China was naturally bound to test the limits of the regional influence it garnered during its effective charm offensive, kicked off after the Asian financial crisis at the end of the 1990s.

Hillary Clinton

A post-Clinton Foggy Bottom is a real concern for Southeast Asia.

Beijing tested its power by asserting its sovereignty and ‘core interests’ in the South China Sea, taking on Tokyo over the Senkaku and Diaoyu Islands. Southeast Asia’s atavistic anxieties were immediately triggered, and it sought strong and enduring signals of US commitment and engagement in the region. Clinton and her Asia team, led by Campbell and supported strongly by Jeff Bader and his Asia directorate at the National Security Council, responded.

They signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC); forthrightly articulated an engagement strategy with Burma, which allowed the United States to have a place at the table with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); and immediately institutionalised that opening with the US-ASEAN Leaders Meeting and by joining the East Asia Summit, with clear guidance from Clinton that the United States saw ASEAN as ‘the fulcrum’ of emerging regional architecture.

Additional steps have been taken by the State and Defence Departments to shore up traditionally weaker relationships in Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as welcoming the warm embrace from Prime Minister Najib Razak in Malaysia to reinforce ties and take them to a new political level. Importantly, the United States has climbed back into the trade game — or is leaning in that direction at least — through reinvigorating the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) and putting its backing behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The effect of these collective actions has been impressive, but the question ASEAN is asking now is will the United States sustain its engagement through an enduring strategic focus and institutionalise that engagement? Is the current level of focus dependent on a highly committed Secretary Clinton and her super-motivated Asia team led by Assistant Secretary Campbell?

The region would welcome further signals of commitment and specifically wants to see the United States institutionalize its presence in the region. At a time when Congress seems divided along partisan lines, and some members so narrowly focused on trimming deficits that national interests may come in second, there is reason for concern.

The unimaginably tragic events in Japan will only heighten Southeast Asia’s concerns about long-term US commitment. Secretary Clinton should seal her legacy as ‘the Pacific secretary’ by working with Congress, civil society, the business community, and the administration to put enduring institutions in place to underpin the US commitment to a region of the world that is vital to our long-term national security and economic interests.

Ernest Bower is a senior adviser and director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Author: Ernest Bower, CSIS

This post was originally published on the Centre for Strategic and International Studies’ blog on the 17th of March, 2011.

  1. How November defines US engagement in Southeast Asia
  2. Questions for Southeast Asia – Weekly editorial
  3. China’s ‘frown diplomacy’ in Southeast Asia

Originally posted here:
‘After Hillary’ era concerns Southeast Asia

East Asia Forum provides a platform for the best in East Asian analysis, research and policy comment on the Asia Pacific region and world affairs.

Comments

Asean

COVID-19 Vaccine Roll Outs in ASEAN Live Updates by Country

Thailand is currently expecting vaccines to be delivered in mid-2021. The doses would cover 13 million people in a population of about 69 million. Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute signed a non-refundable advance market commitment contract worth 2.38 billion baht (US$79 million) with AstraZeneca to reserve the supplies

Avatar

Published

on

ASEAN coronavirus Covid-19 live updates by country

Brunei

Brunei has joined the global Covax scheme and is expecting to have the COVID-19 vaccine in Q1 2021, having sourced enough supplies to cover 50% of the population. Discussions are on-going with other suppliers.   

Loading...
  • Brunei recorded one new case on May 8, bringing the total to 330 cases amid three deaths.
  • Brunei saw one new case on May 7, taking the total to 229 cases amid three deaths.
  • Brunei recorded one new case on May 4, taking the total to 228 amid three deaths.

Cambodia

Cambodia is expected to import vaccines from both China and Russia. China’s vaccines are still undergoing clinical trials while Russia has already commenced production. Australia has offered financial support to aid vaccine coverage in several southeast Asia countries including Cambodia.  

  • Cambodia recorded 538 new cases on May 8, bringing the total to 18,717 cases amid 114 deaths.
  • Cambodia recorded 558 new cases on May 7, taking the total to 18,179 cases and 114 deaths.
  • Cambodia reported 650 new cases and four deaths on May 6, bringing the tallies to 17,621 cases and 114 deaths.

Indonesia

Indonesia has commenced vaccinations with just over nine million doses being given to front line workers from last month. China’s Sinovac is in discussions with Indonesia to provide supplies, however, the Government faces difficulties with a large population of 268 million and price sensitivity at Sinovac’s estimated costs at 200,000 rupiah (US$20) a dose.

Indonesia’s Health Ministry’s Disease Control and Prevention Director-General Achmad Yurianto said that vaccinations would only be provided to citizens aged 18-59. The vaccine has also been required to pass halal certification prior to use and it is uncertain how the country can source enough vaccines to reach a sizeable part of its population.  Australia has stated it will also provide financial support to solve these issues.  

  • Indonesia recorded 6,130 new cases and 179 deaths on May 8, bringing the totals to 1,709,762 cases and 46,842 deaths.
  • Indonesia saw 6,327 new cases and 167 deaths on May 7, bringing the tallies to 1,703,632 cases and 46,663 deaths.
  • Indonesia reported 5,647 new cases and 147 deaths on May 6, bringing the totals to 1,697,305 cases and 46,496 deaths.

Laos

Laos has been trialing the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and is also in discussions with China about acquiring supplies. 

  • Laos recorded 28 new cases on May 8, bringing the total to 1,233.
  • Laos saw 28 new cases on May 7, taking the total to 1,205.
  • Laos saw 105 new cases on May 6, taking the total to 1,177.

Malaysia

Malaysia is to provide vaccines free of charge to its nationals, but foreigners will need to pay for the treatment, according to the Malaysian Minister of Health, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who has signed a deal with Pfizer for 12.8 million doses.

These will be administered in two stages of 6.4 million people each, with the program to commence in Q1 2021. The country aims to inoculate between 80-100% of its citizens. 

  • Malaysia reported 4,519 new cases and 25 deaths on May 8, taking the tallies to 436,944 cases and 1,657 deaths.
  • Malaysia saw 4,498 new cases and 22 deaths on May 7, bringing the tallies to 432,425 cases and 1,632 deaths.
  • Malaysia recorded 3,551 new cases and 19 deaths on May 6, taking the totals to 427,927 cases and 1,610 deaths.

Myanmar

Myanmar is seeking assistance from the Gavi and Covax programs to acquire vaccines, while Australia is also providing financial relief. At present, the Government aims to treat 20 percent of the ‘most at risk’ in the country with vaccines. The Government is struggling with finances and logistics and is also under US sanctions, while cases are surging. The Government has banned the celebration of Christmas and other seasonal celebrations.   

  • Myanmar recorded 31 new cases on May 8, taking the total to 142,934 amid 3,210 deaths.
  • Myanmar saw 29 new cases on May 7, taking the total to 142,903 amid 3,210 deaths.
  • Myanmar recorded 16 new cases and one death on May 5, bringing the total to 142,874 amid 3,210 deaths.

Philippines

The Philippines aims to commence vaccinations from June 2021 and expects to inoculate about 25 million people (about 25 percent of its population) over the course of the year. The country has been badly affected by the virus and has the second-highest rate in Southeast Asia.

The business community has reacted, more than 30 local companies signed an agreement to purchase at least 2.6 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca in the country’s first such deal to secure coronavirus vaccines, ten days ago. They plan to donate a large part of the doses to the government for its planned vaccination program and use the rest to inoculate their employees. 

  • The country saw 6,979 new cases and 170 deaths on May 8, taking the totals to 1,094,849 cases and 18,269 deaths.
  • The Philippines reported 7,733 new cases and 108 deaths on May 7, bringing the tallies to 1,087,885 cases and 18,099 deaths.
  • The Philippines saw 6,637 new cases and 191 deaths on May 6, bringing the totals to 1,080,172 cases and 17,991 deaths.

Singapore

Singapore has been working on producing its own ‘Lunar’ vaccine, in a joint venture between the US company Arcturus together with the Duke-NUS medical school. It is a single dose, mRNA shot, developed from genetically engineering COVID-19 genes into an otherwise harmless virus. This technique is marginally safer than other vaccines which rely on dead Covid-19 material to provoke an immune response. The vaccine is expected to be available from Q1 2021. High-risk personnel will receive the vaccine first in a process to be determined by the government.     

  • Singapore recorded 20 new cases on May 8, taking the total to 61,331 cases amid 31 deaths.
  • Singapore saw 25 new cases on May 7, taking the total to 61,311 cases amid 31 deaths.
  • Singapore saw 18 new cases on May 6, bringing the total to 61,286 cases amid 31 deaths.

Thailand

Thailand is currently expecting vaccines to be delivered in mid-2021. The doses would cover 13 million people in a population of about 69 million.

Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute signed a non-refundable advance market commitment contract worth 2.38 billion baht (US$79 million) with AstraZeneca to reserve the supplies. Discussions are also on-going with Oxford University in the UK to secure a vaccine that could be available in Q1 if trials are completed in time.   

  • Thailand reported 2,419 new cases and 19 deaths on May 8, taking the tallies to 81,274 cases and 382 deaths.
  • Thailand recorded 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths on May 7, taking the totals to 78,855 cases and 363 deaths.
  • Thailand reported 1,911 new cases and 18 deaths on May 6, taking the tallies to 76,811 cases and 336 deaths.

Vietnam

Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), a division of Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, has signed an agreement with Medigen Vaccine, a Taipei, Taiwan-based vaccine company to secure the supply of 3 million to 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in 2021. Medigen is currently conducting Phase II studies of the vaccine, co-developed with the USA’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), in Taiwan and Vietnam with a view to a Q1 2021 rollout.  

Vietnam is also working on producing its own vaccine, with the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) in Nha Trang City, partnering with New York City-based Icahn School of Medicine and the global health non-profit organization PATH. Phase 1 trials are already underway in Vietnam, while Phases 2 & 3 will be conducted at the beginning of 2021. The institute plans to submit documents for approval to the health ministry as early as April next year and claims to be capable of producing 30 million doses a year, expecting that a national vaccine could be distributed to the general population in October 2021.

  • Vietnam saw 15 new cases on May 8, taking the total to 3,152 cases amid 35 deaths.
  • As of May 7, 2021, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 3,091 cases of COVID-19. However, 2,560 of the affected patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. Vietnam has also recorded 35 deaths due to the pandemic. The latest community transmission cases have been reported from Hanoi, Vinh Phuc, Thai Binh, Bac Ninh, and Da Nang among others. 16 local cases are linked to the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi’s Dong Anh district.
  • As of May 6, 2021, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 3,030 cases of COVID-19. However, 2,560 of the affected patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. Vietnam has also recorded 35 deaths due to the pandemic. The latest community transmission cases have been reported from Hanoi’s outskirts district of Dong Anh.

Continue Reading

Banking

Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay Launch Cross-border Payment System

Olivier Languepin and Abhishek Prakash

Published

on

In a global first, Singapore and Thailand have linked their real-time payment systems, PayNow and PromptPay allowing international fund transfers between the two countries within minutes.

Loading...
(more…)

Continue Reading

Myanmar

Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand

Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.

Avatar

Published

on

By Karen Lee

Loading...

Following the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s netizens became the latest to join the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online collective of pro-democracy youth across Asia.

(more…)

Continue Reading

Most Viewed

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 14,079 other subscribers

Latest

Trending