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

Xi Jinping’s recent absence: back spasm or knee jerk?

Author: Ryan Manuel, ANU

Chinese heir-apparent Xi Jinping’s recent two-week absence from public appearances led to a flurry of articles about how opaque China’s government is and how little we know about the future leadership.

Some argued that it questioned the legitimacy of China’s communist regime.

Read more…

China and Asian regionalism in a multi-polar global economy

Author: Miriam L. Campanella, University of Turin

At the 2011 Asia Economic Policy Conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Justin Yifu Lin, then chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank, made an unambiguous statement about China’s vital role in the global economy:

‘Whether we are on the verge of an “Asian Century” or not, one thing is clear: there has already been a dramatic shift in the geographic centre of the global economy. Read more…

Jakarta’s gubernatorial election: a call for change

Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah, ANU

Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s expected victory in the final round of Jakarta’s gubernatorial election against incumbent Governor Fauzi ‘Foke’ Bowo has sent a clear message that the government’s approach to managing Jakarta’s complex urban systems needs to change profoundly.

Read more…

Human rights in Sri Lanka: between the UN and the US

Author: Gibson Bateman, New York

As the 21st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (HRC) ends on 28 September 2012, ongoing human rights developments in Sri Lanka will undoubtedly linger in the minds of many.

Observers will look forward to the country’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review, Read more…

The Japanese yen, carry trade and tail risk

Author: Ippei Fujiwara, ANU

It is recognised that the currency of a country with high interest rates tends to appreciate. This sounds like an indisputable theory.

But if this is correct, those borrowing funds in low-interest rate countries, such as Japan, and investing in high-interest rate countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, can achieve high profitability, Read more…

China–North Korea dispute: much ado about nothing

Author: Andrei Lankov, Kookmin University and ANU

Outside observers were recently exposed to an unusual sight: an open confrontation between a Chinese company and the North Korean government.

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India’s economic reforms: light at the end of the tunnel

Author: Pravakar Sahoo, IEG

The Indian government announced, in response to claims that it is responsible for India’s slowing economy, new reform measures on 14 September.

The reforms include a revision of fuel prices, allowing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retailing, allowing international airlines to invest in domestic airlines, increasing FDI equity from 49 per cent to 74 per cent in broadcasting services and disinvestment of four public sector undertakings. Read more…

Mexico and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Author: Juan J. Palacios, University of Guadalajara

Claude Barfield noted that the most significant development at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos was the decision to invite Canada and Mexico to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Although other initiatives with a global reach were also launched at that summit, this particular decision represents a substantive advance in the liberalisation of trade in the Pacific, and is a major step toward the materialisation of the TPP. Read more…

The continuing euro zone sovereign debt crisis

Author: Quentin Grafton, BREE and ANU

The financial troubles in the euro zone are an on-going series of sovereign debt crises that originated in countries within the zone that were already or became heavily indebted following the global financial crisis of 2008–09.

The debt crisis is exacerbated by a debt cycle in that the banking sector needs to recapitalise, the public sector must undertake fiscal consolidation, and households and firms need to reduce their level of indebtedness. Read more…

India−Pakistan visa deal: a boost for trade and bilateral cooperation?

Author: Sandy Gordon, ANU

On 8 September, India and Pakistan agreed to liberalise their visa arrangements.


The deal came during a three-day meeting between Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar and her Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna in Islamabad. Read more…

Clean coal technologies in developing countries

Authors: Xunpeng Shi and Brett Jacobs, ERIA

Coal will continue to play a large role in world energy supplies in the medium term, particularly in rapidly industrialising countries such as India and China.

Notwithstanding the increasing number of environmental regulations on coal use since the 1970s, global demand for coal has increased steadily in the past three decades. Read more…

Mixed messages in the Indonesia–Australia relationship

Author: Dewi Fortuna Anwar, Jakarta

Indonesia is edging back into Australia’s foreign-policy debate. With its huge population, growing economy and strategic location Indonesia is not only projected to become one of the world’s major economies within a few decades, it is also regarded as a global swing state that will have increasing influence in international affairs.

Read more…

Are the Japan–China troubles out of control?

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Anxiety about the dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku or Diaoyu islands spiralling totally out of control intensified last week when the Noda government bought three of the islands from a private Japanese owner.

Read more…

Japan and China’s latest spat over the Senkakus

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

September 2012 was supposed to be the landmark 40th anniversary of the normalisation of Japan–China relations. Matters haven’t quite turned out that way.

Read more…

Noda’s unfinished agenda: is Japan TPP participation now more likely?

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

A recent report in the Wall Street Journal by Mitsuru Obe suggests that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will announce a decision to participate in the TPP after a cabinet reshuffle (scheduled for early October).

While a decision to participate in the TPP is highly unlikely, a decision to participate in the TPP talks is certainly possible. Read more…