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DEMOCRACY TRIUMPHS IN THAILAND
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AseanAffairs Magazine May - June 2011
CONTENT • ASEAN TECH
• ASEAN ECONOMY • ASEAN TRAVELLER
• ASEAN MARKETING

• BEYOND ASEAN

• ASEAN POLITICS INSIDE OUT
• ASEAN TALK • BOLD NEW ASEAN

 

 

DEMOCRACY TRIUMPHS IN THAILAND
The election of Yingluck Shinawatra through a peaceful and democratic election may usher in a new period of political stability in Thailand.


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ETHNIC CLASHES IN THE NORTH


MYANMAR

The Kachin Independence Army is one of the armed ethnic groups in Myanmar.

One of the major shortfalls of a military-run government is that attempts to resolve disputes are usually handled through military force rather than through talks and compromise. With its many ethnic groups, some of them having standing armies, often supported by the sale of drugs, the Myanmar junta sees no other way. They are soldiers not statesmen or diplomats.

Reports are that Myanmar troops have been involved in deadly clashes with Kachin rebels near a northern site where China is building a hydroelectric power plant beginning on June 9.

At least four rebel fighters and a number of government troops have died.

A truce between the government and rebels from the Kachin ethnic minority broke down last year when rebels refused to become state border guards. It was the worst violence reported in Burma since March, when the military handed power to a civilian government.

The clash appears to have started with a government offensive to force rebels belonging to the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) from an outpost in an area where China is building two dams as part of a hydroelectric power plant........




IMPROVING THE TOURIST MIX


BRUNEI
Brunei wants to become an eco-tourist center.
B runei is looking to achieve a mix of attracting long-haul and subregional tourists, but is on the right track in its current direction of marketing to selective tourist sectors, said Steven Schipani, Social Sector Specialist at the Social Sectors Division Southeast Asian division in the Asian Development Bank, yesterday at the fifth World Tourism Organisation Asia-Pacific Executive Training Programme on Tourism Policy and Strategy.

Schipani, who presented on optimizing the benefits of regional tourism cooperation, noted that Brunei already has the framework for subregional cooperation via the Bimp-Eaga pact.

“Within that, they have a thing called the ‘Joint Tourism Cluster’, so this this is where the government officials, senior officials, regularly meet and I think the senior officials have already decided that they want to make Bimp-Eaga the food basket and ... the eco-tourism centre of Asean”.

He praised this intention adding that to implement this, Brunei is on the right track in its move to selectively attract the “right” kinds of tourists versus a mass influx of tourists..............


From left, H.E. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, and Wan Jifei, Chairman of the China’s Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and China International Commerce Chamber.



TRADE WITH CHINA DOUBLES


CAMBODIA
    
B
ilateral trade between Cambodia and China reached US$498 million in the first quarter, soaring 216 percent from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Cambodia exported $42 million worth of goods to China between January and March, an increase of 342 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s imports from China jumped 208 percent to $456 million for the period, the statistics show.

Government officials highlighted close ties between the two nations as main drivers of growth in trade.

“The sharp rise comes thanks to the economic recovery and closer economic and social ties between the two countries,” said Kong Putheara, Director at the Commerce Ministry’s Statistics Department. ..............


 

 


LAOTIANS FEAR CHINESE


LAOS
Chinese casinos are popping up in Laos.

At casinos in the Laos town of Boten, guests are greeted with a deferential “ni hao”, “hello” in Mandarin Chinese.

This casino is not in China, where gambling is strictly forbidden, but across the border in Laos.

Investors have leased the whole town and its surroundings from the Lao government for 60 years.

In Boten, the road signs are all in Chinese, staff in the hotels speak Mandarin, and the town’s main strip is a line of food stalls selling dumplings and fried duck, outside, young Chinese prostitutes parade up and down until all hours of the night.

Chinese investments in northern Laos go beyond casinos. Chinese rubber companies have started building offices in nearby Luang Namtha. Over the border, China’s Yunnan province is a booming global rubber processing industry, producing rubber for everything from car tires to condoms.

But with no room left to plant more trees there, Chinese companies are looking farther. The Lao government believes it has spotted an opportunity but locals feel threatened by the invasion of a foreign culture and language.

 

 

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