Southeast Asia Bureau Chief
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Mar 29, 2013

Muslims vanish as Buddhist attacks approach Myanmar’s biggest city

SIT KWIN (Reuters) – The Muslims of Sit Kwin were always a small group who numbered no more than 100 of the village’s 2,000 people. But as sectarian violence led by Buddhist mobs spreads across central Myanmar, they and many other Muslims are disappearing.

Their homes, shops and mosques destroyed, some end up in refugee camps or hide in the homes of friends or relatives. Dozens have been killed.

Dec 23, 2012

In Vietnam, anti-Chinese protesters find a new outlet – soccer

HANOI, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Under the watch of plainclothes police, midfielder Nguyen Van Phuong unleashed a powerful left-foot drive into the top corner. Dissidents cheered from the sidelines. “Down with China,” some shouted. Phuong pumped his fist.

As tensions between Beijing and Hanoi escalate over the South China Sea, Vietnamese anti-China protesters who face repeated police crackdowns are finding a new form of political expression: soccer.

Nov 20, 2012

Obama urges restraint in tense Asian disputes

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama urged Asian leaders to rein in tensions in the South China Sea and other disputed territory but stopped short of firmly backing allies Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam in their disputes with China.

The comments by Obama at a regional summit meeting illustrate how he intends to manage Sino-U.S. ties that have become more fraught across a range of issues, including trade, commercial espionage and the territorial disputes between Beijing and Washington’s Asian allies.

Nov 19, 2012

Tensions flare over South China Sea at Asian summit

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Japan warned on Monday that a row over the South China Sea could directly influence “peace and stability” in Asia as the Philippines publicly disagreed with Cambodia over the contentious territorial issue at a regional summit.

Wading into one of Asia’s most divisive and vexing security problems, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda challenged efforts by summit host Cambodia to limit discussions on the South China Sea, where China’s territorial claims overlap those of four Southeast Asian countries and of Taiwan.

Nov 16, 2012

Special Report: Myanmar military’s next campaign: shoring up power

NAYPYITAW (Reuters) – Aung Thaw was a teenager when he joined Myanmar’s armed forces, which seized power in 1962 and led a promising Asian nation into half a century of poverty, isolation and fear.

Now 59, he has a new mission as deputy minister of defense: explaining why the military intends to retain a dominant role in a fragile new era of democratic reform.

Nov 12, 2012

Witnesses tell of organized killings of Myanmar Muslims

PAIK THAY, Myanmar (Reuters) – On a hot Sunday night in a remote Myanmar village, Tun Naing punched his wife and unleashed hell.

She wanted rice for their three children. He said they couldn’t afford it. Apartheid-like restrictions had prevented Muslims like Tun Naing from working for Buddhists here in Rakhine State along Myanmar’s western border, costing the 38-year-old metalworker his job.

Nov 11, 2012

Special Report: Witnesses tell of organized killings of Myanmar Muslims

PAIK THAY, Myanmar (Reuters) – On a hot Sunday night in a remote Myanmar village, Tun Naing punched his wife and unleashed hell.

She wanted rice for their three children. He said they couldn’t afford it. Apartheid-like restrictions had prevented Muslims like Tun Naing from working for Buddhists here in Rakhine State along Myanmar’s western border, costing the 38-year-old metalworker his job.

Nov 11, 2012

In Myanmar, ethnic party taps dangerous nationalist fervor

YANGON (Reuters) – In the 1970s, Oo Hla Saw organized street protests against Myanmar strongman General Ne Win. Today, he faces a very different fight as defender of a political party that is dominated by ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and linked to bloody assaults on Muslims.

The secretary-general of the Rakhine National Development Party (RNDP) denies his party led or organized attacks against Rohingya Muslims in a wave of sectarian violence in late October that killed at least 89 people. But grass-roots members may be involved, he conceded in an interview with Reuters. A military intelligence officer told Reuters RNDP members were among the instigators.

Oct 19, 2012

U.S. to invite Myanmar to joint military exercises

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The United States will invite Myanmar to the world’s largest multinational military field exercise, a powerful symbolic gesture toward a military with a grim human rights record and a milestone in its rapprochement with the West.

Myanmar has been invited to observe Cobra Gold, which brings together more than 10,000 American and Thai military personnel and participants from other Asian countries for joint annual manoeuvres, officials from countries participating in the exercises told Reuters.

Oct 19, 2012

Exclusive: U.S. to invite Myanmar to joint military exercises

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The United States will invite Myanmar to the world’s largest multinational military field exercise, a powerful symbolic gesture toward a military with a grim human rights record and a milestone in its rapprochement with the West.

Myanmar has been invited to observe Cobra Gold, which brings together more than 10,000 American and Thai military personnel and participants from other Asian countries for joint annual maneuvers, officials from countries participating in the exercises told Reuters.

    • About Jason

      "As Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, Jason Szep manages text, pictures and television news operations across 10 countries for Reuters. He has been a Reuters correspondent, bureau chief and editor since 1990 and won the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi award in 2007. He is a Boston native and has had postings with Reuters in Toronto, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Boston and Bangkok. His assignments have ranged from Kabul and Islamabad to the U.S. presidential campaign trail during the 2008 election."
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