Written by Kyle Hosey
March 5, 2023
The ASEAN-Japan Relationship Turns 50
2023 marks 50 years since relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) informally opened relations with Japan. Commentators in the region predict that the relationship will continue to be one of ASEAN’s most productive, albeit not without challenges posed by COVID recovery and increased geopolitical tensions in the region. One thing to watch is whether ASEAN and Japan officially upgrade ties to the “comprehensive strategic partnership” level, ASEAN’s highest designation. China obtained such an agreement in 2021, with the US following in 2022.
Reports Allege Foreign Firms Are Skirting Myanmar Sanctions
A recent Amnesty International report claims to have identified more multinational firms which are involved in illegally supplying aviation fuel to Myanmar’s air force. International sanctions have been applied to the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military government, and its air forces since 2021 in the wake of the coup of that year and subsequent airstrikes against civilian targets in areas opposed to the regime. However, a tangle of firms, including Exxon and Rosneft, have allegedly supplied aviation fuel to Myanmar intended for the civilian air sector which has wound up in military use. Gaps in the sanctions regime against Myanmar have been a concern for most of its existence.
Vietnam Names a New President
Vietnam’s National Assembly selected Vo Van Thuong to the country’s presidency last week, one of the Vietnamese Politburo’s four top leadership positions. Thuong’s predecessor was forced to resign in January under allegations of corruption related to a pair of COVID-era scandals. Thuong, at 52, is the youngest member of the Politburo and is seen as a relatively safe selection that restores some of the regional balance in leadership that Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party has historically sought.
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