This week, tensions have been running high particularly in Bali as its iconic volcano – Mount Agung – which threatens to erupt at any moment. Over 144,000 people have fled the rumbling volcano, but Indonesian officials urged evacuees who live outside the immediate danger zone to return home. According to an official statement made by the Bali Government Tourism office, the threat level of Mount Agung was raised from level three (alert) to level four (danger). However, tourists were reassured that they will be safe as popular tourist destinations are located far away from the volcano.
Brutality is another common theme in Southeast Asia this past week. As Myanmar's military continued the assault on Rohingya muslims in northern Rakhine state, refugees continue to pour into Bangladesh, overcrowding refugee camps. Doctors and the WHO raised concerns about a possible outbreak due to the poor conditions of these refugee camps as well as the shortages of food and medicine. Across the border, Myanmar's military uncovered mass graves which contain the bodies of dead Hindus, but the Rohingya militants denied allegations that they had massacred scores of Hindu villagers.
Separately, The ASEAN Post studied the brutal murder of six army generals and the eradication of the G30S/PKI. While it happened 52 years ago, it still haunts Indonesians to this very day and the incident will always be remembered as one of the darkest ages in Indonesian history.
During a special press conference, the Thai Ambassador to Malaysia commented that the Kra Canal project is not feasible. The ambassador stressed that the Kra Canal will not be able to compete with larger and well-established ports and trade routes like Singapore or the Straits of Malacca.
The 11 remaining nations of the TPP are determined to push forward with the trade deal even in the absence of the US. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump had accepted Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's invitation and will be attending the upcoming ASEAN Summit.