South East Asia

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 may have veered off course

By Peter Symonds, 15 March 2014

Search operations are now focussed on areas of the Indian Ocean, hundreds of kilometres to the west of MH370’s last known position.

Thai government faces threat of judicial coup

By Tom Peters, 15 March 2014

The Constitution Court vetoed a government spending bill and announced it will consider a petition to annul the February 2 election.

Conflicting accounts of vanished Malaysia Airline Flight 370

By Peter Symonds, 13 March 2014

The lack of clarity is compounded by the competing interests at stake—including those of Malaysia Airlines, Boeing and the various governments involved.

Iron ore price slump points to mounting Chinese economic problems

By Nick Beams, 12 March 2014

A sharp drop in the price of iron ore this week cast a shadow over global financial markets amid concerns about the state of the Chinese economy.

Searches fail to locate Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

By Peter Symonds, 11 March 2014

All the sightings of debris and oil slicks have been discounted as having no connection to the vanished aircraft.

Malaysian court overturns acquittal of opposition leader Anwar

By John Roberts, 11 March 2014

The sodomy conviction follows clear support from Washington for Prime Minister Najib’s government.

Many questions unanswered about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

By Peter Symonds, 10 March 2014

The lack of information has led to speculation about the aircraft’s sudden disappearance, including catastrophic mechanical failure, freak weather conditions and hijacking.

Mining corporations pressure Indonesian government over mineral export law

By John Roberts, 3 March 2014

Indonesia’s mineral export trade virtually ceased overnight after the 2009 ban on export of unprocessed ores came into effect.

Thailand: Navy officers arrested for involvement in anti-government protests

By Tom Peters, 28 February 2014

The arrests indicate that sections of the military are actively participating in the anti-democratic campaign to overthrow the Yingluck government.

Thailand: Five dead in latest attacks on anti-government protests

By Tom Peters, 26 February 2014

The opposition blamed the government for the deaths, but it has more to gain from violence that could provide the pretext for a military coup.

Thai court undermines government’s emergency decree

By Tom Peters, 21 February 2014

The civil court this week banned police from making any attempt to break up anti-government protests.

Thai political crisis worsens as four killed in clashes

By Peter Symonds, 19 February 2014

What is underway—anti-government protests, legal challenges and a looming constitutional crisis—parallels the lead-up to the 2006 military coup.

Indonesian volcanic eruption displaces tens of thousands

By Oliver Campbell, 17 February 2014

The eruption last Thursday killed at least four people in Java’s densely populated east.

Thai government to end rice subsidy

By Tom Peters, 15 February 2014

The subsidy scheme, which supports millions of farmers, will expire at the end of the month, further destabilising the Yingluck government.

Thailand: Election fails to resolve political deadlock

By Tom Peters, 10 February 2014

The opposition is seeking to nullify the election, while anti-government protests continued in Bangkok last week.

The revival of Japanese militarism

By Peter Symonds, 8 February 2014

The denial of crimes such as the Rape of Nanking has only one meaning—it is the ideological preparation for new wars and new atrocities.

US disputes China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea

By Joseph Santolan, 8 February 2014

The move by the US State Department to challenge Beijing’s maritime territorial claim constitutes an escalation of Washington’s campaign against China.

Philippine typhoon survivors stage protests

By Dante Pastrana, 7 February 2014

Typhoon Haiyan and the lack of government assistance have compounded the social crisis in some of the country’s poorest areas.

Japanese government promotes militarism in media and schools

By John Watanabe, 5 February 2014

The government stacked the NHK’s board with right-wing appointees to shift the public broadcaster’s political orientation.

US warns China over air defence zone

By Peter Symonds, 4 February 2014

The Obama administration has seized on an insubstantial Asahi Shimbun article to stir up tensions with China over the South China Sea.

Thailand: Anti-government protests disrupt election

By Tom Peters, 3 February 2014

Yesterday’s blockades of voting stations demonstrated the government’s tenuous hold on power.

Philippine peace deal in Mindanao followed by military assault

By Joseph Santolan, 1 February 2014

The attacks that left 52 dead give the lie to claims that the deal, brokered by US, and signed by the MILF and the Philippine government, is about establishing peace.

Thai government to hold election amid ongoing crisis

By Tom Peters, 31 January 2014

The ruling Puea Thai party will almost certainly win a majority of seats, but the election will not end the country’s political turmoil.

Thai government imposes state of emergency

By Peter Symonds, 22 January 2014

Yingluck Shinawatra’s government has declared an emergency, but it is unclear whether it will be able to enforce its measures.

Grenade attack as Thai political crisis continues

By Tom Peters, 18 January 2014

The explosion, which injured more than 30 people, is the latest in a series of attacks on ongoing anti-government protests.

Thai opposition vows to continue “shutdown” of Bangkok

By Tom Peters, 14 January 2014

Protest leaders say the blockade of major intersections will continue will continue until the government cancels planned elections and an unelected “people’s council” is installed.

Thai opposition vows to shut down Bangkok

By Tom Peters, 11 January 2014

Opposition leaders had vowed to "shut down" Bangkok in the latest effort to distrupt next month's elections and create the conditions for a military coup.

Cambodian garment workers forced back to work

By John Roberts, 9 January 2014

The strike’s collapse followed a military police crackdown by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.

Cambodian government bans rallies and protests

By John Roberts, 6 January 2014

Following the killing of striking workers on Friday, the government broke up an opposition protest site in Freedom Park in Phnom Penh.

Cambodian security forces shoot striking garment workers

By John Roberts, 4 January 2014

Military police yesterday opened fire on protesting workers, killing at least four and wounding 21.

Thai military hints at a coup

By Tom Peters, 28 December 2013

Amid a deepening political crisis, the Thai army chief yesterday refused to rule out a military seizure of power.

Democrat Party to boycott Thai elections

By John Roberts, 23 December 2013

The last Democrat election boycott in 2006 set the stage for a military coup against the present prime minister’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Australian media bid to justify spying angers Indonesia

By Mike Head, 20 December 2013

The Australian asserted that the tapping of the phones of President Yudhoyono and his closest associates was part of a legitimate strategy to monitor Jakarta’s ruling elite.

Thai military leaders support new election to resolve crisis

By John Roberts, 17 December 2013

The armed forces are far from united, with powerful military figures backing anti-government protesters.

Anti-government protests continue in Thailand

By John Roberts, 13 December 2013

There is undoubted sympathy for the anti-government protesters in the upper echelons of the state bureaucracy, the police and military.

Gross exploitation of migrant workers fuels riot in Singapore

By Joseph Santolan, 10 December 2013

The immediate cause of Sunday’s riot was the death of Sakthivel Kumarvelu, an Indian migrant construction worker.

Tense standoff in Thailand after government calls election

By Tom Peters, 10 December 2013

Protest leaders have rejected the election and are continuing their anti-democratic demand for a royally-appointed “people’s council”.

Thai prime minister to dissolve parliament

By John Roberts, 9 December 2013

Yingluck’s decision is designed to pre-empt further Democrat-backed protests.

Anti-government protests escalate in Thailand

By John Roberts, 29 November 2013

The protests are the latest stage in the feud between the country’s traditional elites and layers loyal to the billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra.

Anti-government protests erupt in Thailand

By John Roberts, 26 November 2013

Just two years after national elections, an amnesty bill has reignited bitter infighting among the country’s ruling elites.

Indonesian protests over Australia spying revelations

By Peter Symonds, 22 November 2013

Indonesian president Yudhoyono has suspended military and intelligence sharing with Australia in a bid to contain widespread public anger at home.

Mounting anger at Philippine president’s response to typhoon disaster

By Mike Head, 16 November 2013

Despite Aquino’s claims that relief is arriving, millions of displaced people are desperately short of food, water, shelter and medical care.

Climate scientists warn of more super-typhoons

By Peter Symonds, 15 November 2013

Global warming raises the chances of more intense storms, such as Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines.

Anger in Indonesia over low wage increases

By John Roberts, 9 November 2013

The minimum wage rises followed two days of strikes by hundreds of thousands of workers.

Philippine Senate holds hearing on corruption scandal

By Joseph Santolan, 8 November 2013

What makes this scandal potentially far more explosive than many previous ones is the geopolitical context in which it occurs.

Philippine political opposition deepens as Beijing-Manila relations sour

By Joseph Santolan, 6 November 2013

In the wake of Obama’s no-show in South East Asia in October, a political opposition to Philippine President Aquino has taken shape driven by concerns over the souring relations with Beijing.

US House subcommittee escalates war rhetoric against China

By Joseph Santolan, 2 November 2013

The credibility of the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia” is being eroded throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

US-China tensions drive Philippine political opposition

By Joseph Santolan, 30 October 2013

Behind a struggle over corrupt use of “pork barrel” funds, the ruling elite is fighting over the Philippines’ role in spearheading the US “pivot to Asia.”

Chinese premier visits Vietnam

By John Roberts, 28 October 2013

The trip was part of a diplomatic offensive by the Chinese leadership in South East Asia aimed at countering the US “pivot to Asia.”

Amid government shutdown, Obama cancels trip to Malaysia, Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 3 October 2013

Obama’s cancellation does not change Washington’s aggressive “pivot to Asia,” though it presents Washington with a crisis of credibility.

Indonesian economy faces continuing economic turbulence

By John Roberts, 21 September 2013

The Bank of Indonesia foreshadowed harsh austerity measures to prepare for the end of “quantitative easing.”

No maritime agreement at ASEAN meeting

By John Chan, 8 August 2013

China is resisting US pressure for a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

Fuel price rise provokes unrest in Indonesia

By Therese Leclerc, 24 June 2013

Protests have erupted against the Indonesian government’s decision to implement a 44 percent increase in the price of oil.

US defence secretary outlines military build-up in Asia

By Peter Symonds, 3 June 2013

Obama’s “pivot” involves strengthening US military ties, as well as restructuring military forces, throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

Philippine government calls for the rearming of Japan

By Joseph Santolan, 14 December 2012

Amid tensions with China, the Philippine foreign secretary said the government supported Japanese remilitarization as “a balancing factor”.

Death toll from Philippine typhoon exceeds 600

By Joseph Santolan, 10 December 2012

At least 100 of the deaths were the result of collapsed or buried evacuation centers.

Scores dead as typhoon hits the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 5 December 2012

The deaths so far reported have resulted from landslides, flash floods and falling trees and power lines. But the underlying cause is poverty.

Thai anti-government protesters clash with security forces

By John Roberts, 1 December 2012

The rally confirms that none of the bitter divisions within the Thai ruling elite have been resolved.

Philippine mayor calls for extrajudicial killing

By Dante Pastrana, 20 November 2012

The rise to power of Rodrigo Duterte as Davao City mayor implicates major political figures in the Philippines.

Obama’s trip intensifies US push into South East Asia

By Peter Symonds, 20 November 2012

The US focus on the region is part of a broader diplomatic offensive aimed at undermining China’s position throughout Asia.

Philippine “left” quarrels over election

By Joseph Santolan, 13 November 2012

The dispute reveals the depth of the opportunism and charlatanry of both Akbayan and Anakbayan, as well as other CPP-front organizations.

Philippine “left” quarrels over election

By Joseph Santolan, 13 November 2012

The dispute reveals the depth of the opportunism and charlatanry of both Akbayan and Anakbayan, as well as other CPP-front organizations.

Philippine anti-mining activist arrested for Facebook posting

By Dante Pastrana, 6 November 2012

The Aquino government has extended the criminalization of libel onto the internet and other forms of electronic media.

Philippine government implements two-tier wages

By Dante Pastrana, 5 November 2012

Along with the expansion of contractualization and underemployment, the new wage system is a major assault on the living standards of Filipino workers.

Millions of Indonesian workers join one-day strike

By John Roberts, 18 October 2012

The turnout was driven by pent-up anger over low wages and the “outsourcing” of work to contract workers, now common throughout Asia.

Former Philippine president arrested on the charge of plunder

By Joseph Santolan, 16 October 2012

The charge filed against her is being used by President Aquino’s administration to hold former President Arroyo without bail.

Philippine politicians declare candidacy for the 2013 election

By Joseph Santolan, 13 October 2012

Two major political coalitions composed of family dynasties are competing for a share in the power and the coffers of the state

Philippine president to sign Mindanao peace accord

By Joseph Santolan, 11 October 2012

Backed by Washington, the Manila political and business elites have struck a bargain with a section of the Mindanao ruling class for the joint exploitation of the island.

Anti-US protests spread throughout Muslim world

By Alex Lantier, 18 September 2012

Protests that began one week ago at US embassies in Egypt and Libya against an anti-Islamic YouTube video are rapidly spreading throughout the Muslim world.

Close associates of Indonesian president targeted over corruption

By John Roberts, 18 August 2012

Scandals have emerged amid the political manoeuvring for the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2014.

Scores killed in Manila floods

By John Roberts, 10 August 2012

Urban planners have described the latest floods in the Philippines as a “man-made disaster.”

East Timorese election bolsters ruling party

By Mariano Cardoso, 27 July 2012

Gusmao’s CNRT nearly secured an absolute majority of parliamentary seats and plans to form a coalition government with two smaller parties.

Tensions heighten in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 26 July 2012

While the US media has blamed China for the friction in the South China Sea, Washington is responsible for inflaming the dangerous flashpoint.

ASEAN summit breaks up amid feuding over South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 14 July 2012

The diplomatic impasse is the product of the Obama administration’s aggressive “pivot” to Asia, aimed at undercutting China’s influence in the region.

Clinton stirs tensions with China ahead of ASEAN summit

By Peter Symonds, 12 July 2012

Every aspect of Clinton’s trip to Asia has focussed on strengthening Washington’s ties in the region at Beijing’s expense.

Paltry pay rise for workers in Philippine capital

By Dante Pastrana, 5 July 2012

Employers still oppose the 30-pesos daily increase, in sharp contrast to the stance of union leaders, who quickly dropped their original demand for a higher pay rise.

Indonesia to join US-Australia military exercises

By Mike Head, 4 July 2012

Following President Yudhoyono’s visit to Darwin this week, Australia will boost its US-backed military arrangements with Indonesia.

Political turmoil continues in Thailand

By John Roberts, 3 July 2012

A court ruling barring the parliament from debating mechanisms for constitutional change has sparked large protests by government supporters.

Vietnam’s maritime claim provokes standoff with China

By John Chan, 28 June 2012

Vietnam, encouraged by US backing, has fuelled tensions with China over disputed territories in the South China Sea.

Philippine government presides over schools in crisis

By Dante Pastrana, 13 June 2012

The education system is grossly underfunded, dominated by private profit and geared to producing skilled cheap labor for business and export.

Philippine President Aquino in Washington boosts military ties

By Joseph Santolan, 11 June 2012

The Aquino visit further strengthens Obama’s “pivot” to the Asia Pacific and the calculated policy for the military containment of China.

Burmese opposition leader visits Thailand

By John Roberts, 8 June 2012

The trip by Aung San Suu Kyi to Thailand last week has exposed ongoing tensions with the Burmese military.

US defence secretary increases military ties with Vietnam

By Joseph Santolan, 5 June 2012

The talks over the deployment of US ships in Vietnamese waters and the sale of weaponry are part of Washington’s escalating confrontation with China.

The ouster of Philippine Chief Justice Renato Corona

By Joseph Santolan, 30 May 2012

The removal of Renato Corona was the culmination of a concerted campaign by President Aquino to undermine the judiciary and extend executive power.

New charges filed against Malaysian opposition leader

By John Roberts, 30 May 2012

The politically-motivated charges are aimed at undermining the opposition coalition as the government prepares for a possible early election.

Ten years on, the myths of East Timor independence stand exposed

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 May 2012

The tiny island state remains subject to the diktats of the IMF and World Bank and the intrigues of rival powers vying for regional influence.

Impeachment trial of Philippine chief justice nears end

By Joseph Santolan, 24 May 2012

The prosecution of Chief Justice Corona has dramatically undermined the separation of government powers and created a constitutional crisis.

Tensions ease temporarily between China and the Philippines

By John Chan, 22 May 2012

While the immediate danger appears to have been averted, none of the underlying issues have been resolved.

Philippine protests further escalate tensions with China

By Joseph Santolan, 11 May 2012

The provocative and well-funded protests against China today are part of a calculated campaign that has its origins in Washington.

Russian plane crashes in Indonesia

By Clara Weiss, 11 May 2012

On Wednesday, a Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 on a demonstration flight crashed into the rock face of a volcano near the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Locked-in workers die in fire in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 10 May 2012

The practice of locking workers in is routine and any fire will almost certainly result in the loss of life.

Philippine Supreme Court issues decision on Hacienda Luisita

By Joseph Santolan, 7 May 2012

The decision by the Supreme Court is another skirmish in the on-going factional war between rival sections of the Philippine bourgeoisie.

Prosecutions continue under Thailand’s anti-democratic lese majeste laws

By John Roberts, 5 May 2012

The lese majeste laws are a politically sensitive issue because the monarchy has played such a pivotal role in protecting the Thai state apparatus.

Draconian security bill passed by Malaysian parliament

By Dante Pastrana, 4 May 2012

While touted as a more democratic alternative to the Internal Security Act, the new legislation maintains crucial police state powers.

Police attack large opposition rally in Malaysia

By John Roberts, 3 May 2012

The demonstration points to rising social and political tensions as the global economic crisis impacts on Malaysia.

Demonstrator shot dead in housing demolition in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 1 May 2012

The brutal event is part of President Aquino’s policy of forcibly relocating the urban poor onto the dismal floodplains outside the city.

US-Philippine military exercises directed against China

By Peter Symonds, 26 April 2012

The Balikatan exercises, provocatively staged adjacent to the South China Sea, can only heighten US tensions with China.

Indonesian government retreats from immediate fuel price rise

By John Roberts, 19 April 2012

Plans to cut subsidies provoked widespread opposition and weeks of protests throughout the country.

Power outages wrack southern Philippine island

By Dante Pastrana, 18 April 2012

Electricity rationing in Mindanao, the poorest island group in the Philippines, is now in its fourth month.

Former military chief wins East Timor’s presidential election

By Patrick O’Connor, 18 April 2012

Taur Matan Ruak, the former head of the East Timorese armed forces, was clearly the Australian government’s preferred choice.