southeast asia

Ask someone in Southeast Asia what comes to mind when you mention "Korea," and the answer is more than likely to be the "Korean Wave." (...) The first ladies of the ASEAN member nations got a look at the place where the wave originated during this week's Korea-ASEAN Summit.

MOFA will follow up with a wide range of activities next year, such as sending performance groups on cultural diplomacy tours throughout the region, according to the director-general. 

Japan's top foreign aid official looks back on six decades of official development assistance and airs his vision for "cooperation with a face" and the kind of ODA that will be remembered for years to come.

September 25, 2014

Public diplomacy is a key pillar of a country’s foreign policy toolkit. In a world where non-state actors – foreign publics, media, NGOs, civil society organizations and multinational corporations — are increasingly important, soft power initiatives — outreach activities directed at foreign nations to enhance a country’s international reputation — are increasingly prominent in the foreign policy landscape. The public diplomacy landscape has traditionally been dominated by rich developed nations like the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Japan, Spain and the United States.

China and Southeast Asia are more intertwined than ever. Trade between these two regions is booming, and Chinese investors are pouring into Southeast Asia. China is fully involved in most regional security meetings organised by Asean. This era of Sino-Southeast Asian relations should therefore be a golden age bringing mutual peace and prosperity for all concerned.

Emerging donor South Korea has high hopes for Myanmar, and the latest step is to establish a new think tank to assist in policy, capacity building and research efforts in the country, as well as boost Seoul’s own development footprint in Southeast Asia.

The US is considering downgrading Thailand to a human trafficking blacklist, following revelations in the Guardian that slaves are being used in the production of prawns sold in leading American, British and European supermarkets. Washington will directly address allegations of human trafficking in Thailand's trade in prawns – known in the US as shrimp – in an imminent report that could result in economic sanctions against Bangkok. 

Protesters demonstrating against the military, which seized power in last month's coup d'état, have been spotted invoking the three-fingered salute used by the oppressed population in the films of Suzanne Collins's young adult science-fiction series.  In the wake of international news channels such as CNN and the BBC being taken off air, as well as HBO and the Disney Channel, it is especially significant that this small but pointed gesture of protest should have sprung from popular culture.

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