Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific

Chiang Mai Initiative: China takes the leader’s seat

Author: Joel Rathus, ANU

In early May, the ASEAN +3 Finance Ministers met in Hanoi and reached an agreement on two important issues in the development of the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI).

Firstly, they appointed Wei Benhua to be the first director of the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO). Read more…

Coping with unprecedented urbanisation in India

Author: Suman Bery, International Growth Centre

In the coming decade, Indian cities will grow exponentially. It is essential they are kept healthy.

More by accident than design, India’s Five Year Plans are today well synchronised with its population census. Read more…

How the earthquake strengthened the Japan-US alliance

Author: Masashi Nishihara, RIPS

One of the positive results of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan was the Japanese public’s heightened recognition of the importance of both the Self Defense Forces (SDF) and the Japan-US alliance.

This turn of events will have significant affects on Japan’s future security and relations with the United States. In the past, the two forces conducted many joint exercises but never joint operations. Read more…

China’s militant tactics in the South China Sea

Author: David Arase, Pomona College

China’s fishing fleet has become a kind of naval militia, attempting to assert China’s sovereignty in disputed areas of the East and South China Seas, stirring a regional crisis in the process.

Recall the incident on 7 November 2010 when a Chinese fishing vessel deliberately rammed a Japanese coast guard cutter before attempting to flee. Read more…

Understanding the claims and claimants in the South China Sea

Author: Jennifer Chen, Georgetown University

How do we resolve the territorial disputes in the South China Sea (SCS)? There is no clear answer, but the first step to settling any argument is to examine all sides of the story.

Media outlets tend to depict China as the aggressor infringing on the sovereign rights of other nations.

Read more…

The next IMF chief should be from an emerging economy

Author: Anil Kumar Kanungo, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade

The story of succession at the IMF is well underway.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde seems well positioned to beat Mexico’s central bank governor Agustin Carstens to the job. Read more…

When the Grand Chief is away: Papua New Guinea’s big-man politics

Author: Bill Standish, ANU

Papua New Guinea’s political dramas have intensified in the 10 weeks that Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has spent in intensive care in Singapore’s Raffles Hospital.

Only on 22 June did Arthur Somare, the Minister for Public Enterprises, tell Parliament that his 75-year-old father had undergone a heart valve operation plus two further emergency operations. Read more…

Asia and international capital controls

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, EAF

A striking feature of globalisation in modern times has been the huge growth of international capital flows.

Openness to international capital has enabled the rapid growth of the emerging economies, facilitated the productive deployment of investment funds as well as technology and other resources around the world and has helped to lift millions out of poverty in these countries. Read more…

Are there ‘intelligent’ capital controls?

Author: Jonathan D. Ostry, IMF

The debate over how to manage capital flows to emerging market economies ebbs and flows, much like the flows themselves.

But, it’s a hot topic in the news again for good reason. Short-term fluctuations in capital flows are occurring against the backdrop of a structural trend increase. Investors have woken up to the higher risk-adjusted returns these economies are likely to continue to offer. Read more…

The Korean conflict, 61 years on

Author: David Fedman, Stanford University

Today marks the 61st anniversary of the first salvoes of the Korean War. As such, it is a fitting occasion for a candid assessment of the American position on the Korean Peninsula, and the ways in which the legacy of this conflict has shaped the current foreign policy landscape in Northeast Asia and beyond.

Read more…

Australian–Indonesian livestock trade: Ban the bans

Author: Raymond Trewin, ANU

Trade bans often signal a lack of ideas or an attempt to constrain market forces, driven by the more vocal or influential rather than evidence-based policy analysis.

The recent proposed ban on livestock exports to Indonesia seems a prime example of this situation, with a ‘NineMSN’ survey of the issue indicating more than 50 per cent of respondents are against the ban. Read more…

The tenth Shangri-La dialogue

Author: Sheryn Lee, ANU

On 4-5 June, Singapore was once again awash with security and defence buzz amid the 10th annual International Institute of Strategic Studies’ Shangri-La Dialogue.

While in previous years attention has centred on the keynote address of the US Secretary of Defence, this year’s event was dominated by a first time attendant: the Chinese Defence Minister, General Liang Guanglie. The Chinese General’s appearance heralded the strategic importance of the dialogue as a forum for the world’s leading nations. Read more…

India’s economic engagement with Africa

Author: Mahendra Ved, New Delhi

The feasibility of India giving credit worth billions to other nations was unthinkable a decade ago, but thanks to a resurgent economy, India has recently moved from being a recipient to a benefactor.

This differs from the earlier ‘protectionist’ approach. Read more…

Disparate sanctions: US sanctions, North Korea and Burma

Author: David I. Steinberg, Georgetown University

The case of US sanctions against North Korea and Burma/Myanmar is an interesting anomaly among sanctions.

Of all the states in the world with which the US has problems, North Korea places first, whether in terms of its potential threat to the US and its allies, South Korea and Japan; attempted nuclear proliferation, nuclear weaponry and missiles; its human rights abuses and its extensive gulags; its isolation; its aggressive behaviour toward South Korea; etc. Read more…

Singapore without Lee Kuan Yew

Author: Michael D Barr, Flinders University

The sudden retirement of Lee Kuan Yew from the Singapore Cabinet last month following the ruling party’s poor showing in the general elections is a tremendous victory for his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Ironically, the younger Lee’s moral stature in Cabinet has been given a major boost by the ruling party’s dreadful showing in the May 2011 elections as he has been able to shift all the blame onto others — notably his two predecessors as prime minister (Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong) and a few poorly performing Cabinet ministers, who also stepped down after the election. Read more…