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

India–US bilateral investment treaty going nowhere

Author: Ashish Goel, King’s College London, and Harish Goel, XLRI

The India–US bilateral investment treaty negotiations have taken a hit after India insisted on preconditions that will, if implemented, deny foreign investors the right to international dispute settlement measures.

India and the United States have engaged in bilateral investment treaty negotiations to enhance trade relations and investment flows since 2008. Read more…

Don’t write the Democratic Party of Japan off just yet

Author: Simon Hughes, University of London

Japan’s opposition is in complete disarray. After gaining just 17 seats of the 121 contested in July’s upper house election, a record low for the party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has descended into infighting and could face years in the political wilderness. Read more…

Focus on North Korean cyber threat ignores South Korea’s threat within

Author: Soo-Kyung Koo, Washington DC

Since the first large-scale distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in July 2009, the South Korean government has consistently accused North Korea of responsibility for other nation-wide cyber incidents. Specifically, it blames a hacking and cyber warfare unit established in 2009 under the military-led Reconnaissance General Bureau. Read more…

The steppes to the States

Author: Brandon Miliate, Indiana University 

Mongolia is determined to defeat geographic destiny and escape the influence of Russia and China.

Since 1990, it has pursued a multidirectional foreign policy, forging strong ties with such global players as the United States, the EU, Japan, South Korea and India. Read more…

Japan aid to the Philippines a warning to China

Author: Yoichiro Sato, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

On 27 July, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered to provide the Philippines with 10 coast guard patrol ships through a yen loan as part of a naval agreement.

On one level, this decision represents an extension of Japan’s longstanding maritime assistance policy toward Southeast Asia in general and the Philippines in particular. Read more…

Vietnam’s new internet decree: toothless repression

Author: David Brown, California

From the flurry of alarms filling space in Western media recently, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Vietnamese government has finally figured out how to suppress the dissident bloggers that torment it.

The furore has been prompted by Decree-Law 72 on management of the internet, which the Hanoi regime published on 30 July this year. Attention has focused on a few lines in article 20 of the decree, which forbid bloggers or people who post to social media to ‘provide aggregated news’. Read more…

Leaving Pakistan–India trade barriers up ties political progress down

Author: Pravakar Sahoo, Institute of Economic Growth

The recent announcement by Pakistan’s finance minister that most favoured nation (MFN) status to India will not be considered is an additional blow to India-Pakistan relations.

While improved trade relations could significantly enhance political ties between the two countries, and this announcement makes it more likely that bilateral relations will continue to languish at current low levels. Read more…

Death of a conscript highlights Taiwan’s military woes

Author: Sheryn Lee, U Penn

On 4 July 2013, Taiwanese army corporal Hung Chung-chiu died from multiple organ failure after being forced to undergo solitary confinement and consecutive days of drill exercises in a military detention centre.

His death, coming just two days before his scheduled discharge from Taiwan’s one-year compulsory military service, has underscored Taiwan’s worsening socio-economic situation, and its deteriorating ability to defend the Taiwan Strait. Read more…

US as first among equals not good enough for China

Author: Hugh White, ANU

What is America’s ultimate aim in Asia today? Robert Manning’s and James Przystup’s insightful response to my comments about this question gets to the heart of the issue, in ways that help to illuminate the real choice America now faces in its relationship with China and its role in Asia.

That choice today is quite stark: which does America want more, primacy or peace? Because the way things are moving in Asia today, it cannot have both. Read more…

India’s problem is with corruption, not poor growth models

Author: Sukalpa Chakrabarti, Symbiosis School of Economics

The verbal duel between the two iconic Indian economists, Dr Jagdish Bhagwati and Dr Amartya Sen, has of late whipped up unprecedented attention in India’s media and could not have come at a more opportune moment — just ahead of the 2014 elections. Read more…

The gravity shift and its discontents

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

At the stroke of midnight on 15 August 1947, when India officially became an independent state after two centuries of British rule, Prime Minister Nehru observed that moments when the old gave way to the new occurred but rarely in history. Read more…

Myanmar’s commitment to coming out

 Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

When Myanmar’s president U Thein Sein took office in March 2011, few anticipated the speed with which the commitment to move to civilian rule would roll forward. At the centre of the changes that have taken place are wide-ranging political and economic reforms that have encouraged the suspension of Western economic sanctions and a major drive to attract foreign investment to support rapid trade and economic growth. Read more…

No going back in Myanmar

Author: John Blaxland, ANU

Myanmar (Burma) has experienced whirlwind reforms in recent years. With that has come heightened anxiety over incendiary and xenophobic remarks enflaming ethnic and religious tensions. In addition, democratic forces look set to marginalise the military’s proxy party, the NSDP, at the elections scheduled for 2015. Read more…

India’s economic, foreign policies unlikely to change under new government

Author: Vikas Kumar, Azim Premji University

Although the next general election in India is not due until 2014, the world’s largest democracy is already in poll mode because the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) could call an election sooner.

Given the UPA’s poor track record, and the possibility that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will return to power after 10 years in opposition, observers are trying to identify the NDA’s policy orientation. Read more…

Why China charms Cambodia

Author: Heidi Dahles, Griffith University

Cambodia’s persistent infatuation with China was blatantly displayed on the world stage in 2012 when, as ASEAN Chair, it refused to address the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

This widely commented incident once again underscored the close relationship between both countries.

Read more…