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Foreword

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 May 2017

Tan Chin Tiong
Affiliation:
ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
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Summary

It is my pleasure to present the forty-third edition of Southeast Asian Affairs. The information and analysis in this annual review will be useful for all those interested in developments in Southeast Asia.

The year 2015 saw global economic headwinds grow stronger in Southeast Asia. Growth in Japan and Europe remained subdued, while in China growth weakened and market volatility increased. These external factors were the main reasons for the lower growth rates, manufacturing exports, stock market capitalizations, and currency values in Southeast Asia. These headwinds will likely continue throughout 2016.

On the security front, the problems in the South China Sea worsened, particularly between the United States and China. China, the United States, Japan and India all increased their active interest in the South China Sea. The United States and China increased their pressure on Southeast Asian states and ASEAN to support their positions on the South China Sea.

Politics in 2015 reflected the region's diversity. The election in Singapore saw a strong surge of support for the ruling People's Action Party. Myanmar's first free election in many years saw a definitive defeat for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party. In Indonesia, the Jokowi administration struggled to translate its election victory into effective rule, while the Philippines, Vietnam and Laos geared up for leadership changes in 2016. The long-standing political regimes in Cambodia and Malaysia faced greater popular pressure for change, while Thailand moved no closer to a return to democracy.

I would like to thank the authors, the editors as well as others who have helped to make this publication possible. The chapters in the volume contain a wide variety of views and perspectives. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute. The authors alone are responsible for the facts and opinions presented in their contributions.

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Chapter
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Publisher: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
Print publication year: 2016

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