China Radio International, in collaboration with leading national media outlets from Southeast Asia, selects the top 10 news stories in Southeast Asia in 2013.
Member countries of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) jointly held the first drill from 17 to 20 June. Ten members from ASEAN and 18 other countries including China participated in the drill which kicked off in Brunei's capital Bandar Seri Begawan.
Southeast Asia Haze
Environment Ministers from 5 Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and Thailand, held a meeting to discuss the haze problem on 17 July in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur. Thick clouds of haze were caused by wildfires set ablaze by unidentified parties in the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Amendments and Aung San Suu Kyi
Myanmar set up a review committee comprising of 109 senators to amend its constitution from 25 July. Aung San Suu Kyi declared her intention to run for president in the 2015 elections despite the constitution of Myanmar prohibiting people whose spouses or children hold foreign citizenships from serving in high-ranking political positions. Her late husband and two sons all hold British citizenships.
The Code of Conduct in the South China Sea
China and ASEAN countries discussed the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea from 14 to 15 September. The meeting was held in Suzhou in east China's Jiangsu province and achieved positive developments over disputes in the South China Sea.
China and ASEAN Countries
China's new leaders successively visited Southeast Asian countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping first visited Indonesia and Malaysia and then attended APEC meetings in Bali, Indonesia from 2 to 8 October. Premier Li Keqiang carried out a set of visits to Brunei, Thailand and Vietnam from the 9th to 15th of the same month. Both moves are believed to signify friendly relations and cooperativeness between China and ASEAN countries.
PRISM-Gate in Southeast Asia
PRISM-gate further developed in Southeast Asia. Australian media, quoting Edward Snowden, revealed that Australia and Singapore were involved in the U.S. global network of surveillance over Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Indonesia then cut off many bilateral deals with Australia.
Typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines on 8 November. The disaster is said to have affected over 14 million people with 6,155 dead, 1,785 missing and more than 27,000 injured as of 29 December.
The Preah Vihear Temple
The International Court of Justice in the Hague, the Netherlands, reached a verdict on the sovereignty disputes over the Preah Vihear Temple on the border between Thailand and Cambodia on 11 November. The verdict further explains an earlier decision over the issue made in 1962 and defines the border line in the area. The court confirmed Cambodia's sovereignty over the entire area while Thailand was ordered to withdraw its army and police forces. Both sides agreed on the decision.
Thailand Political Protests
Yingluck Shinawatra, the current Prime Minister of Thailand, is faced with the most serious crisis of her office. Protests have been ongoing since November as they believed a proposed amnesty bill would lead to the return of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother. Nationwide demonstrations then led Yingluck to dissolve parliament and call an early election, to be held on 2 February 2014.
The Bali Package
The Bali Package was agreed upon in the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Bali, Indonesia. The package is believed to be a breakthrough from the deadlock of the Doha Development Round. It is also the first trade agreement reached through the WTO that has been approved by all its members.
Business & Investment Opportunities
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