Mekong Memo Myanmar 20230912
Mekong Memo Myanmar Weekly, September 12, 2023: Business, politics, finance, trade & legal news.
We monitor and filter the very best and most insightful stories from Southeast Asia directly to your inbox every week.
By reviewing a wide variety of media including legal, financial and other relevant industries along with government and NGO sources, we are able to sift through the noise and bring you only what we believe to be relevant to an informed observer of Myanmar business news.
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With that said, here is your Mekong Memo Myanmar for the week of September 12, 2023:
ASEAN Struggles with Internal Cohesion Amid Rising Regional Tensions
The recent ASEAN summits highlighted the bloc's ongoing challenges in addressing regional issues, particularly the South China Sea conflict and Myanmar's civil unrest. Despite adopting stronger language on Myanmar, ASEAN's consensus-based diplomacy appears increasingly ineffective against the backdrop of escalating tensions between major powers. The organization's inability to enforce standards on member states like Myanmar further undermines its global reputation, even as Myanmar seeks legitimacy from other key players like China, India and Russia. These developments raise questions about ASEAN's relevance and its capacity to adapt to a rapidly changing geopolitical landscape.
Junta Plans Elections for 2025 Amid Ongoing Resistance
Myanmar's military-backed government is planning to hold elections in 2025, according to anonymous party officials. The announcement comes as the junta faces ongoing resistance since its February 2021 coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD). The junta has approved 36 political parties for future elections and will replace the first-past-the-post system with a proportional representation system. The NLD, a significant political force in Myanmar, has been dissolved under new military-authored rules.
Read more: Channel News Asia
ASEAN Surpasses U.S. and EU as China's Largest Trading Partner
ASEAN has overtaken the U.S. and EU to become China's largest export market, according to recent data. The shift is attributed to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), led by China, which has been in effect since last year. Trade between China and ASEAN reached a total value of 3.59 trillion yuan in the first seven months of 2023, accounting for 15.3% of China's total foreign trade. This growing partnership is seen as a stabilizing force in global trade, especially as demand in developed markets declines.