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China and Cambodia: A Love Story

Photo: Alfred Meier Safe inside his armored motorcade and surrounded by nearly two dozen police motorcycle escorts, Chinese Premier Hu Jintao traversed north along Sothearos Boulevard in Phnom Penh this past Saturday morning, passing a 20 foot portrait of his face as well as one of his wife’s as his entourage made its way towards the Peace Palace for a meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Along the two sides of the road lined school children waving Cambodian and Chinese flags and holding up smaller frames of the aforementioned portraits. The meeting of the two leaders took place just two short days before the 20th annual ASEAN Summit in Cambodia’s capital city. One does not need much of an imagination to figure out what was being discussed. Cambodia is China’s closest ally in Southeast Asia, a special relationship which dates back decades and which has begun to ruffle the feathers of some of Phnom Penh’s ASEAN neighbors.  As chair of the regional bloc for 2012, Cambodia was in charge of setting the agenda for the conference. One issue of particular note which was omitted was the row over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Photo: Reuters As I noted a few days ago in my preliminary commentary of the summit, China is one of six countries laying claim to the island chain, believed to be rich in oil and natural gas deposits. Four ASEAN member states – Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei – also claim the islands. Moreover, there has been increased hostility within the past year between China and Vietnam and the Philippines in particular, incidents which have triggered some parties to the dispute to call for the drafting of a Code of Conduct (COC). During an impassioned opening speech, Hun Sen called for greater unity amongst ASEAN member states, specifying the need to expand the regional currency fund and for better protection for migrant workers.  There was no mention of the Sea dispute. But that all changed when ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand announced that China could also see a role in helping to draft the COC. That announcement was blasted by Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario who said such a decision represented a “big disagreement.” Before you knew it, the South China Sea dispute became the central topic of discussion at the conference, much to the chagrin of Hun Sen who sought to avoid the topic altogether. It is an issue which should continue to dominate the discourse of regional relations with China indefinitely until there is a version of a COC drawn up. Privately and anonymously, some delegates told me that they believe Cambodia values its close ties to Beijing more than they do to ASEAN, and they are not happy about that. So much for greater unity.

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Photo: Alfred Meier Safe inside his armored motorcade and surrounded by nearly two dozen police motorcycle escorts, Chinese Premier Hu Jintao traversed north along Sothearos Boulevard in Phnom Penh this past Saturday morning, passing a 20 foot portrait of his face as well as one of his wife’s as his entourage made its way towards the Peace Palace for a meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Along the two sides of the road lined school children waving Cambodian and Chinese flags and holding up smaller frames of the aforementioned portraits. The meeting of the two leaders took place just two short days before the 20th annual ASEAN Summit in Cambodia’s capital city. One does not need much of an imagination to figure out what was being discussed. Cambodia is China’s closest ally in Southeast Asia, a special relationship which dates back decades and which has begun to ruffle the feathers of some of Phnom Penh’s ASEAN neighbors.  As chair of the regional bloc for 2012, Cambodia was in charge of setting the agenda for the conference. One issue of particular note which was omitted was the row over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Photo: Reuters As I noted a few days ago in my preliminary commentary of the summit, China is one of six countries laying claim to the island chain, believed to be rich in oil and natural gas deposits. Four ASEAN member states – Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei – also claim the islands. Moreover, there has been increased hostility within the past year between China and Vietnam and the Philippines in particular, incidents which have triggered some parties to the dispute to call for the drafting of a Code of Conduct (COC). During an impassioned opening speech, Hun Sen called for greater unity amongst ASEAN member states, specifying the need to expand the regional currency fund and for better protection for migrant workers.  There was no mention of the Sea dispute. But that all changed when ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand announced that China could also see a role in helping to draft the COC. That announcement was blasted by Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario who said such a decision represented a “big disagreement.” Before you knew it, the South China Sea dispute became the central topic of discussion at the conference, much to the chagrin of Hun Sen who sought to avoid the topic altogether. It is an issue which should continue to dominate the discourse of regional relations with China indefinitely until there is a version of a COC drawn up. Privately and anonymously, some delegates told me that they believe Cambodia values its close ties to Beijing more than they do to ASEAN, and they are not happy about that. So much for greater unity.

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China and Cambodia: A Love Story

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Tourism

The Bachelor Japan Season 4 showcases Thailand

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Bangkok, 2 December, 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to report that Thailand features as the main location in the Japanese reality TV show ‘The Bachelor Japan Season 4’, of which the first episode aired on 25 November, 2021.

In cooperation with the TAT Tokyo Office, a film crew from Amazon Prime Japan and YD Creation Japan comprising 65 actors, production staff, technicians and others travelled to Thailand to shoot for the show in the spectacular Southern provinces of Phuket, Phang-Nga, and Krabi between April and June 2021.

A total of six out of the 10 60-minute episodes of ‘The Bachelor Japan Season 4’ were filmed in Thailand.

 Aside from the valuable promotional exposure the destination will receive in Japan, a key source market for visitors from the Asian region, the foreign production also generated much-needed income and employment opportunities in the local tourism and film-related sectors of the three chosen locations.

Phuket, Phang-Nga’ and Krabi were among the first destinations in Thailand to reopen to tourism under the Sandbox programme, and the TAT Tokyo Office has capitalised on the interest of foreign filmmaking to promote the world-class tourist appeal and public health safety standards of these destinations.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said “Popular TV shows like ‘The Bachelor’ are an effective way to deliver promotional messages directly to international markets, in this case Japan, which is among the 63 countries and territories from which fully vaccinated visitors can enter Thailand through the Exemption from Quarantine (TEST & GO) programme. With Thailand featuring so significantly in ‘The Bachelor Japan Season 4’, this helps us to promote travel to Thailand now that entry rules are being relaxed and tourists are once again welcomed.”

Fully vaccinated visitors from every country around the world can also visit Thailand via the Living in the “Blue Zone” Sandbox destinations programme. Meanwhile, partially or unvaccinated visitors are also much welcomed via the Happy Quarantine programme. However, to prevent and control the spread of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, Thailand currently imposes travel restrictions on arrivals from Africa.

Photo Credit: Instagram: @BachelorJapan外部リンク, @bachelorjap外部リンク

The post The Bachelor Japan Season 4 showcases Thailand appeared first on TAT Newsroom.

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Asean

ASEAN commemorates Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Day 2021

An intergenerational dialogue titled ‘Teaming up with You(th) for a Disaster-Resilient and Climate-Friendly ASEAN’, was moderated by the ASEAN Youth Forum’s Programme Manager, Rastra Yasland.

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JAKARTA, 30 November 2021 – The ASEAN Secretariat hosted an interactive webinar to commemorate ASEAN Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Day on 25 November.

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