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

War memories and territorial disputes in Northeast Asia

Author: Preeti Nalwa, Pacific Forum CSIS

This year, the territorial disputes between South Korea, China and Japan have coincided with Japan’s World War II commemorative services at the Yasukuni shrine.

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Malaysia’s internet blackout: politicisation of online activism?

Authors: Damien D. Cheong and Yeap Su Yin, NTU

An internet blackout day was declared in Malaysia on 14 August 2012.

This was in protest against Section 114A of the recently-amended Evidence Act, which enables the authorities to act firmly against individuals who post defamatory, inflammatory and/or seditious content on the Internet. Read more…

Myanmar sanctions by US defy logic

Author: David I. Steinberg, Georgetown University

It was inevitable. The US Congress was not about to let the sanctions on Myanmar, also known as Burma, die. The ritual of the annual renewal was held up in Congress because it was attached to some legislation about Africa, on which there were disputes.

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Upgrading China’s economy through outward investment

Author: Bijun Wang, CCER

China’s outward direct investment (ODI) flows rose sharply from US$2.85 billion in 2003 to US$68.8 billion in 2010 — a twentyfold increase within eight years. As ODI continues to expand, it is likely to improve China’s growth quality.

Two key types of ODI are significant here: resource-seeking ODI and strategic asset-seeking ODI. Read more…

Thailand’s political peasants

Author: Andrew Walker, ANU

In order to understand the political conflict that has convulsed Thailand over the past decade, a new perspective on rural Thailand is required.

Thailand’s 21st century peasants have mobilised to defend the direct relationship they have established with the Thai state over the past 40 years. This is not the old-style politics of the rural poor, characterised by rebellion, revolution or resistance. Read more…

Chinese investment: new kid on the block learning the rules

Author: Karl P. Sauvant, Columbia University

China has arrived in the global outward foreign-direct-investment (FDI) market.

The country’s outflows, which doubled between 2007 and 2008 to US$54 billion, held steady during the Western economic and financial crisis — at a time when world FDI outflows halved. Read more…

Regional prospects in Africa’s mining sector

Authors: Peter Drysdale and Luke Hurst, ANU

Africa’s low-income resource-rich nations are now at a fork in their road to development.

Taking one turn will result in the resource curse wiping away the significant economic and political progress that has been made over the past decade; taking the other could result in the creation of the institutional frameworks and the physical and human infrastructural foundations needed to capture the benefits of the continent’s coming demographic dividend. Read more…

Malaysia: choosing between China and India?

Author: Shankaran Nambiar, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia must decide how to position itself in the regional economic arena given the existing competing influences.

More specifically, Malaysia must take into account the roles that China and India will carve for themselves in the region.

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Asia’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

Author: Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS

In November 2012, Asia will see the emergence of yet another regional arrangement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

RCEP, the framework of which was endorsed by leaders at the 19th ASEAN Summit in November 2011, builds on the East Asia Free Trade Agreement (EAFTA) and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) initiatives. Read more…

America’s Asia Pacific strategy: fifo or constructive engagement?

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

The Australian mining boom may or may not be over, but the massive redeployment of skilled workers from across the country to allow the construction and operation of the giant new projects that are being put in place to service the spectacular growth of Asia’s resource demand is in full swing.

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US strategy: between the ‘pivot’ and ‘Air-Sea Battle’

Author: Stephan Frühling, ANU

As the US war in Afghanistan draws to a close, the attention of US foreign policy, think tanks, pundits and analysts is turning to the US posture in Asia.

The Obama administration has spoken of a ‘pivot to Asia’, and in 2010 the US used tensions in the South China Sea and on the Korean Peninsula to increase its diplomatic and military engagement in the region. Read more…

Contradictory trends in Indian television

Author: Nalin Mehta, NUS

In early 2008, India’s Zee News broadcast a ‘special investigation’.

With a loud, red banner labelling the inquiry an ‘exclusive’, the program made two claims: first, it professed to have found definitive proof that Ravana, the mythical villain of the Ramayana, had maintained an air force. And second, the program revealed that it had found a secret cave in Sri Lanka with Ravana’s mummified body. Read more…

Financial repression and China’s economic imbalances

Author: Anders C. Johansson, SSE

Repressive financial policies are a central problem in the Chinese economic system.

Financial repression has a significant and negative effect on economic growth, and repressive financial policies often lead to both domestic and external economic imbalances. Read more…

PNG ‘land grab’ update

Author: Colin Filer, ANU

The Commission of Inquiry’s final report on Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs) should soon be tabled in Papua New Guinea’s national parliament.

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Indonesia imposes new bank ownership caps

Author: Anwar Nasution, UI

The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) has recently raised capital ratios and tightened corporate governance of banks where institutions fail Bank Indonesia’s health tests.

The new regulation (14/8/PBI/2012 or PBI), which was passed on 13 July 2012, is a step toward making Indonesia compliant with Basel III. Read more…