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

Yoshihiko Noda, Japan’s not-so-ordinary prime minister

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

Yoshihiko Noda’s victory in the race for the DPJ leadership this week greatly surprised the pundits and even many in the DPJ itself.

There was an audible gasp from the assembled DPJ Diet members when Noda’s high vote tally was read out after the first round of balloting. Read more…

The China model and the authoritarian state

Author: Suisheng Zhao, University of Denver

The Jasmine Revolution that began in North Africa early 2011 frightened the Chinese government because China faces social and political tensions caused by rising inequality, injustice, and corruption.

In an attempt to address these tensions, Bo Xilai, the Chinese Communist Party chief in Chongqing, and who is a contender for the 2012 leadership succession, has crusaded to resurrect socialist values and Maoist revolutionary culture. Read more…

North Korea’s mining prospects

Author: Choi Kyung-soo, NKRI

The mining industry is one of the most important components of North Korea’s economy and minerals are its most important export commodity.

North Korea hosts sizeable deposits of more than 200 different minerals. Of those mineral resources identified, deposits of coal, iron ore, magnesite, gold ore, zinc ore, copper ore, limestone, molybdenite, and graphite are the largest and all have the potential for the development of large-scale mines. Read more…

The lessons of Singapore’s presidential election

Author: K Kesavapany, ISEAS

The results of Singapore’s 27 August Presidential Election were a cliff-hanger.

In the four-way contest, the government’s preferred candidate, former Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan, won 35.2 per cent of the valid votes after a recount. Read more…

The South Asia Cold War ‘quadrilateral’ redux?

Author: Sandy Gordon, ANU

South Asia and the Indian Ocean region were locked in a four-power ‘quadrilateral’ structure for significant periods during the Cold War.

On one side were India and the former Soviet Union. On the other side Pakistan stood beside the US against Soviet and ‘leftist’ influence, at one point even being a member of the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO). Read more…

After the Arab Spring: A role for Northeast Asia?

Authors: Troy Stangarone, Korea Economic Institute, and Greg Scarlatoiu, Committee for HRNK

The Arab Spring (the reform movements sweeping the Middle East and North Africa) is comparable to the democratic awakening that occurred at the end of the Cold War in Eastern Europe.

With the US’s and Europe’s resources stretched thin — and perhaps unwelcome in an evolving region that may view the West as complicit in its oppressive past — it is prudent to look ahead and ask what the broader global community can do to assist. Read more…

The strategic implications of the economic rise of China and India

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, EAF

China is already the second largest economy in the world and India is fast coming up behind.

Washington, Tokyo, Canberra and other capitals around the world are crawling with security analysts who link China’s rising economic power to its capacity to project military power and who worry about how to respond to that. Read more…

India, China and Asian economic integration

Author: Suman Bery, IGC

The narrative on the economic growth of ‘maritime East Asia’ in the period after the Korean War is well-established, and runs roughly as follows.

Japan’s reconstruction was facilitated by its integration with the US and Europe within the liberal trading and monetary order set up under US leadership at the end of the Second World War. Read more…

Japan gets a new prime minister

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

The top two contenders for the presidency of the governing DPJ in Japan (and therefore Japan’s prime ministership) on 29 August are Banri Kaieda and Seiji Maehara. Kaieda represents the combined Ozawa-Hatoyama camps.

Not only is he a member of the Hatoyama group, but he has managed to secure the backing of Ichiro Ozawa. Read more…

Vietnam: Under the weight of China

Author: Le Hong Hiep, Vietnam National University

Some researchers liken China to a rooster, with Korea as its beak and Vietnam its leg.

The analogy highlights the strategic importance of Vietnam toward China, especially in terms of security, while also suggesting that Vietnam must live under China’s weight. Vietnam is therefore, in Carlyle Thayer’s words, condemned to a ‘tyranny of geography’ where it has no choice but to learn to share its destiny with neighbouring China. Read more…

Singapore’s presidential election: The battle continues

Author: K Kesavapany, ISEAS

As Singaporeans go to the polls today to elect a new president, it is worth remembering there used to be a comfortable myth perpetuated about Singaporeans — this myth held them to be an apolitical people, conditioned by greed and fear to vote the People’s Action Party (PAP) into power, election after boring election.

Read more…

China: The question of income distribution

Author: Cao Xin, CCPS

Reform and the opening up of China’s economy has been successful on several fronts, and these achievements coincide with remarkable changes in China’s economy and society.

The national economy is increasing by roughly 10 per cent annually. China’s aggregate output is second largest in the world.

Read more…

South China Sea dispute: Why China takes a pragmatic stance

Author: Yang Fang, RSIS

At the 23 July ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Bali, China and ASEAN agreed on a set of guidelines to better implement their 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). This set of guidelines promises to narrow the disputes over territorial sovereignty in the Sea.

This development at the ARF is considered a big step towards the peaceful resolution of the dispute. Read more…

Indonesia’s energy challenge

Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah, ANU

Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest energy producer and consumer.

Its government energy policies are fostering reliance on dirty and subsidised fossil fuels and little progress has been made in increasing renewable energy usage. Read more…

Who’s afraid of China’s middle class?

Author: Luigi Tomba, ANU

There are two diametrically opposed narratives about the Chinese middle class.

In the mainstream views of what many call ‘the West’, its growth represents the inescapable sign that China is destined to converge, bend its ways and eventually become like us, adopt the universal values of our superior civilisation and finally provide us with a way to understand it in the familiar language of democracy. Read more…