Subplots in Thailand’s submarine setback

China Navy

Author: Greg Raymond, ANU

In June 2015, several announcements suggested that Thailand would acquire three Chinese submarines for 36 billion baht (US$1.03billion). But by mid-July, Thai Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon stated that the proposal would be deferred and subject to further review. Read more…

Teach Thais to think

Thai schoolchildren wait for their schoolday to begin. Thailand consistently performs poorly on international measures of education levels (Photo: Flickr).

Author: Somkiat Tangkitvanich, TDRI

Thailand’s education system is failing its youth and the country’s competitiveness. Simply, it lacks accountability.

Thailand can no longer argue it lacks the finances to improve and sustain an effective education system. Read more…

Thai–Cambodia relations one year after the ICJ judgement

Cambodian Buddhist monks walk through the compound of Preah Vihear Temple near the Thai–Cambodian border and about 245 kilometres (152 miles) north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, 12 November 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Greg Raymond, La Trobe University

The Thai–Cambodia dispute over the Preah Vihear temple (called Phra Viharn in Thailand) is one of the worst intra-ASEAN conflicts on record. At least 34 people were killed during intermittent hostilities over the three years. 11 November 2014 marks the first anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) reinterpretation of its judgement dispute. The ICJ’s decision on 18 July 2011 to reconsider its 1962 ruling ended a three year armed border conflict, from 2008 to 2011, over the area around the temple. Read more…

Paying for higher education in Thailand

Nine-year-old Thai boy Thuanchanok Khantip colors his picture  during a drawing contest at an agriculture fair in Kastsart University, Bangkok (Photo: EPA/ Uthaiwan Boonloy)

Author: Bruce Chapman, ANU

A sustained effort to upgrade human capital is needed for countries in Southeast Asia to increase living standards to those of the advanced economies. Higher education and access to it are essential in boosting long-term productivity and supporting economic outcomes that are crucial to a country’s ability to integrate into the increasingly knowledge-based global economy.

Public investment is one element in improving higher education, but fully subsidising higher education has been shown to be inefficient and expensive. Read more…

Thailand, a nation caught in the middle-income trap


Author: Peter Warr, ANU

Thailand is caught in a middle-income trap of its own creation. How did this come about?

Are current policies making it better or worse, and what needs to be done to escape the trap? Read more…

Thailand: from financial crisis to financial resilience

An investor checks the stock prices on monitors at a private trading room in Bangkok (Photo: AAP)

Author: Bandid Nijathaworn, Thai Bond Market Association

The development of Thailand’s financial sector has been a story of restructuring, adjustment and renewal, following the devastating effects of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s.

The crisis was very costly to the Thai financial system, with an estimated gross fiscal loss equivalent to about 33 per cent of 2006 GDP. Read more…

Bearing the consequences of population policy in Thailand

An elderly Thai woman rows her boat to a floating market in Damnoen Saduak

Author: Gavin Jones, ANU

Thailand went through its fertility transition more quickly than almost any other country, with the average number of children born to the average woman declining from about six to two in little more than two decades, between about 1970 and 1990.

Fertility rates have since gone still lower, now standing at around 30 per cent below replacement level (the level that would lead to long-run population stability). This does not mean that Thailand’s population has stopped increasing. Read more…

Thai election won’t solve political crisis

Thai well-wishers hold up photographs of King Bhumibol Adulyadej as they wait for his departure at the Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, 10 May 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Kyoto University

The Thai political crisis has deepened following the coup of 22 May 2014. The military claimed it was saving Thailand from slipping into a new round of political violence after months of anti-Yingluck Shinawatra protests. But, in reality, it sought to take control over politics in the twilight of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s almost 70-year reign. Read more…

Securing peace in southern Thailand

A burnt school building and stores after they were allegedly set on fire by suspected separatist militants in Thailand's restive southern province of Narathiwat on 12 May, 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Rungrawee Chalermsripinyorat, ANU

On 10 April, a car bomb exploded in the underground car park of a shopping mall on the southern resort island of Samui in Thailand. The incident saw 10 people injured and damage to several cars. Police have issued arrest warrants for at least six individuals. How will this attack impact the stalled peace process in southern Thailand? Read more…

China is a big winner from Thailand’s coup

Thai people are allowed to pose with riot and special forces soldiers at a 'Bring Back Happiness to Thai People' event in the central Lumpini Park once occupied by protesters, in Bangkok, Thailand, 15 June 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Patrick Jory, University of Queensland

While the recent military coup in Thailand has drawn much of the world’s attention to the military junta’s suppression of democracy and human rights, it also has far-reaching geopolitical implications for the whole of Southeast Asia.

Read more…