18 March 2016

Each week on the Policy File we round up some essential weekend policy reading from around the web. This week we look at Myanmar’s new president, the economic impact of crimes against tourists in Thailand, North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, and Australia’s Defence White Paper. 

On 1 April the National League for Democracy (NLD) will assume power in Myanmar and U Htin Kyaw, a close confidant of Aung San Suu Kyi, will be the country’s new president. On Policy Forum and New Mandala Trevor Wilson looks at the country’s new political leadership and considers what it means for Myanmar’s future.

Annie Gowen at The Washington Post takes a look at the man who will be the country’s first civilian president in 50 years, while Suhasini Haidar at The Hindu says there will be a power sharing arrangement between U Htin Kyaw and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Thailand’s tourism industry is one of the few bright points in its otherwise faltering economy with 20 per cent more tourists visiting the country in 2015 than the year before. But could the crimes against visitors grabbing the headlines threaten its most lucrative industry? Paul Sanderson looks at how the junta have handled the challenge.

Matthew Tempest at EurActiv takes a look at the ‘police state’ that hides behind Thailand’s tourist paradise while, Shawn W Crispin at The Diplomat asks whether the junta can reverse the country’s economic decline and, if so, by how much.

In North Korea American student Otto Warmbier was this week sentenced to 15 years’ hard labour for ‘crimes against the state’ despite White House calls for leniency — causing further tensions between North Korea and the United States. William M Arkin at Vice News looks at the looming war brewing between the two countries while Robert Kelly looks at how North Korea is a ‘mafia state’.

China has accused Australia of harbouring a cold war mentality in its alliance with the United States, after the release of its latest Defence White Paper – a document which criticised China’s activities in the South China Sea.

In a new Policy Forum Pod two of Australia’s leading strategy and defence experts Stephan Fruehling and Hugh White discuss the paper’s strengths and weaknesses, while John Tilemann at Indrastra breaks down what the white paper says on regional security and nuclear weapons.

Steamy kissing scenes in the latest James Bond movie have left India’s censors shaken and stirred. On Policy Forum Dennis Hanlon and Shorna Pal look at censorship in India and the controversy surrounding 007’s famous kissing scene. Sonam Joshi on Mashable reports on public outrage behind India’s new Internet censorship plans, while Chris Buckley at The New York Times takes a look at China’s censorship issues after a recent online attack.

Don’t forget you can debate key public policy issues by joining the Asia and the Pacific Policy Society’s LinkedIn group – a closed group exclusive to Society Members.  Be part of the conversation – we’ll see you there.

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Hayward, K. (2016). The Policy File - Policy Forum. [online] Policy Forum. Available at: http://www.policyforum.net/the-policy-file-18march16/