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

Dokdo still limits Tokyo and Seoul’s strategic rapprochement

Author: Jonathan Berkshire Miller, The Diplomat

The South Korean government indicated last year that it intends to construct a significant naval base on Ulleung Island in the Sea of Japan.

The Ministry of Defence announced that it will team up with the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs to build the complex and establish a port in Ulleung capable not only of maritime defence but also of force projection. Read more…

Indian economic reform from the bottom up

Author: Madhu Purnima Kishwar, CSDS

‘Development’ and ‘underdevelopment’ are politically loaded terms.

Most ‘underdeveloped’ societies have a colonial past in which their people and resources were economically exploited and their social, cultural and political institutions were wrecked. Read more…

North Korean satellites and missiles: advantage hardliners

Author: Andray Abrahamian, Choson Exchange and University of Ulsan

North Korea’s announcement of a satellite test planned for April has kicked up quite a fuss as governments try to decide how to respond.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said it would be a ‘grave provocation’, while Japan’s cabinet secretary urged North Korea not to carry out the test, saying it was a violation of UN sanctions.

Read more…

Violence in Xinjiang: indicative of deeper problems?

Author: Ildikó Bellér-Hann, KU

In recent weeks the international media have again been reporting deadly incidents in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of northwest China.

Although not as dramatic as the violence of 5 July 2009, when almost 200 people died in the region’s capital, Urumqi, these latest events continue a pattern which now dates back over two decades. Read more…

Banks in emerging markets: the need for a separate reform agenda

Author: Ashima Goyal, IGIDR

Banks in emerging markets are normally considered high risk, while banks in developed countries are generally thought to be robust and well regulated — but the 2008 global financial crisis suggests the opposite.

Financial markets should have recalibrated their scales for measuring risk following the crisis, but this has not yet happened. Read more…

Is China ready to open its capital account?

Authors: Haihong Gao, CASS, and Ulrich Volz, DIE and Peking University

The People’s Bank of China (PBC) and five other authorities announced on 2 March a further removal of restrictions on trade settlements in renminbi.

This is a bold step toward a completely liberalised use of the renminbi under the current account. Read more…

Indian grand strategy: nonalignment redux?

Author: Rajesh Basrur, RSIS   

Though India is widely regarded as a ‘rising power’, the government has not publicly set out its grand strategy or the direction it is taking.

There is still much debate on critical issues such as the viability of its liberal economic model and its relationship with the United States.  Read more…

The China–Philippines dispute in the South China Sea: does Beijing have a legitimate claim?

Author: Robert Beckman, NUS and RSIS

After relative calm for the past few months, the dispute between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea has flared up again.

Manila’s announcement that it would open new blocks off Palawan for hydrocarbon exploration has triggered the latest exchange between the two countries. Read more…

Thailand’s constitutional reform in changing times

Author: Patrick Jory, UQ

When Thailand’s royalist-military junta appointed a panel to draft the new Thai constitution following the September 2006 coup, the idea was to ‘firewall’ the document from any changes the regime’s enemies might try to impose in the future.

One of these firewalls was Article 291, which lays down regulations designed to stymie such attempts. Read more…

China’s one-child policy should be ended quickly

Author: Vikram Nehru, Carnegie Endowment

Over 30 years since launching its one-child policy, China’s demographic dividend is abruptly coming to an end.

Not only is the Chinese labour force set to decline in absolute terms, the old-age dependency ratio (the number of people above the age of 65 for every person of working age) is expected to double over the next two decades, reaching the level of Norway or the Netherlands by 2030. Read more…

Lessons from Japan’s nuclear accident

Author: Yoichi Funabashi and Kay Kitazawa, Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation

A cataclysmic earthquake and tsunami crippled Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station on 11 March 2011, causing one of the most severe nuclear accidents in history.

The Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident, a politically neutral panel established by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, reviewed the emergency responses taken by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), Japanese government agencies and other relevant actors during the crisis. Read more…

India’s foreign policy posture

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

With all the focus on the transition of power between China and the United States in the Asian Century, too little attention is given to how India might handle its growing weight in the world.

India is more often than not taken for granted, seen as a pawn in the growing power game between America and China, or so pre-occupied within its region as to stunt its potential global role. Read more…

India’s foreign policy in the Asian Century

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

The 21st-century Asian order has entered a long interregnum between the hub-and-spokes security bilateralism of the US-engineered San Francisco system and the re-emergence of East Asia’s pre-modern international system.

To harmonise the interests of individual states with the requirements of the system at large in the decades ahead, the foremost challenge in the Asian Century will be to nudge the region’s geo-politics toward cooperation — perhaps even a loose concert of powers — as opposed to competition, conflict and division.

Read more…

Think 20: the role of think tanks in the G20 process

Author: Maria Monica Wihardja, CSIS, Jakarta

Think tanks from around the world convened on 27–28 February at the Think 20 meeting in Mexico City to discuss various issues for the upcoming G20 Summit in Los Cabos.

The Mexican G20 presidency and the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations jointly hosted the meeting, in which four broad topics were discussed: finance and economics, green growth, food security and commodity-price volatility, and the role that think tanks can play in making the G20 more effective. Read more…

Can China change its growth model?

Author: Evan A. Feigenbaum, CFR

How many countries with nearly two decades of double-digit growth under their belt would look in the mirror and say: ‘It’s just not working anymore’?

I daresay, not many. But that is precisely what some Chinese leaders appear to be doing — a point most recently underlined in a new report, China 2030, published by the World Bank and China’s Development Research Center (DRC).

Read more…