Feb 21: The Myanmar junta refused to cooperate with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) terms for discussion on Thursday (Feb 18), Ecuador’s National Assembly approved regulations to allow women and girls access to abortions in cases of rape on Thursday (Feb 17), Russia conducts nuclear exercises on Saturday (Feb 19) as the conflict with Ukraine heats up. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that his country would disregard Russian provocation.
Jan 31: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspends Burkina Faso following the military coup, Russia deploys massive military equipment and troops throughout Belarus, North Korea allegedly fires the most powerful missile tested since United States President Joe Biden took office.
Dec 13: The EU and US have coordinated efforts against Russia should Moscow proceed with an invasion of Ukraine, Cambodia’s Hun Sen expressed that he will “work with” the Myanmar Junta, Nicaragua formally breaks diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of Beijing’s “One China” policy.
Dec 6: Conservative US Supreme Court Justices signal support for abortion restrictions, Iran nuclear talks stall again as Tehran strengthens stance, Hunger in Latin America up by 30 per cent from last year – highest in last 20 years.
Nov 29: At least 27 refugees and asylum seekers die while crossing the English Channel, The Socialist Party of Venezuela clinches a big victory winning 20 out of 23 governor posts, China reduces its diplomatic engagement with Lithuania following the Baltic state’s opening of a de facto embassy in Taiwan.
Nov 1: General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan ousts Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in a military coup in Sudan, Iran’s nuclear negotiations to resume by the end of November, China’s Foreign Minister warns that countries, including the US would pay the price if they continue to “wilfully” push their overtures on Taiwan.
China has mounted a global campaign to develop and share its vaccines in a venture termed as ‘vaccine diplomacy’. Should countries be wary of possible strings attached to participating in the venture, or do the benefits of an effective vaccine outweigh the costs?
Can we confidently say that ASEAN is ready to radically adopt technology across MSMEs and businesses? Connectivity in ASEAN is greatly fragmented and implementing technology will be a great feat. Cyber illiteracy and lack of information to business owners seem to be the biggest hurdle in the process of digitising ASEAN. That said, the ASEAN Digital Masterplan and ASEAN Connectivity 2025 hopes to serve and guide member states in transitioning into this emerging digital age.
The Indonesian government has started its redevelopment plans to improve its economic distribution. How would this impact its neighbours? Would Indonesia’s growth in power and vision to be the “big brother” of ASEAN be accepted by others?