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

The frenzied politics of India’s internal borders

Author: Hans Löfgren, Deakin University

India in the past 60 years has seen numerous regional independence movements.

But after periods of violent conflict, the militants have mostly been integrated into mainstream democratic politics.

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Singapore, still growing strongly, resists social transformation

A foreign construction worker from Bangladesh walks past Singapore's city hall with the Singapore skyline in the background, 16 December 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Mukul Asher and Chang Yee Kwan, NUS

Throughout 2013, Singapore’s macroeconomic management revealed the economy’s strengths.

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Growing pains ahead for Myanmar

Author: Chit Win, ANU

The confused usage of ‘Myanmar’ and ‘Burma’ helps to portray some of the uncertainty surrounding Myanmar’s development in 2013, and was most obviously on display during the visits of President Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to Australia at the beginning and end of the year. Read more…

What to make of Mr Abe and his visit to Yasukuni

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Four days ago, Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, paid a surprise official visit to Yasukuni Shrine, the memorial which enshrines Japan’s war dead including 14 Class-A war criminals in Tokyo. Read more…

Abe’s Yasukuni visit isolates Japan

Author: Kazuhiko Togo, Kyoto Sangyo University

To those who are general supporters of Abe’s economic, political and foreign policy initiatives, including myself, his visit to Yasukuni on 26 December was a bombshell of disappointment and helplessness. Read more…

What was Abe thinking, going to Yasukuni?

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

When a new Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government headed by Shinzo Abe came to power a year ago, international reactions were deeply divided. Some commentators expressed alarm at the new prime minister’s nationalist rhetoric, and warned of heightened tensions in East Asia. Others, pointing to the experience of Abe’s earlier brief period in power in 2006–07, suggested that, despite the rhetoric, Abe was a pragmatist Read more…

Jang Song Taek’s execution: an ominous sign for North Korea?

Author: Nah Liang Tuang, RSIS

The execution of the second-most-powerful man in North Korea, Jang Song-taek, on treason charges might be a portent of more destabilising decisions by Kim Jong-un, and this in turn may further cripple the prospects of North Korea’s denuclearisation.

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Sri Lanka’s education system the answer to national integration

Author: Siri Hettige, University of Colombo

Sri Lanka’s violent ethnic conflict came to an end in mid-2009, when the separatist LTTE was militarily defeated by the Sri Lankan security forces. Following the end of the decades-long war, the country has been faced with the twin challenges of development and national integration.

For Sri Lanka now, the country’s education system has become the major factor affecting both its development process and national integration. Read more…

New battle lines in Malaysian politics

Author: Yang Razali Kassim, RSIS

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak enters 2014 with one big worry on his mind: how to win — and win decisively — the next general election (GE) that must be called by 2018.

The last one seven months ago on 5 May saw his ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition in its worst victory since 1969 Read more…

Rethinking Indian federalism

Author: Amitabh Mattoo, University of Melbourne

Indian federalism has always been contested by those who view with understandable scepticism the overarching constitutional powers that are given to the federal parliament and federal government in New Delhi. One political scientist described India’s constitution as being ‘federal in form but unitary in spirit’, and another critic described India as being only ‘quasi-federal’.

The time has come for India and Indians to reflect and review the federal idea, Read more…

Beijing’s cross-Strait calculus

Author: Wen-Ti Sung, ANU

The long-term outlook for Taiwan’s strategic autonomy from Chinese influence may gradually come into question, even though cross-Strait relations should be stable for the foreseeable future. Intensifying dynamics in the Beijing-Taipei-Washington triangle are contributing to this scenario; in particular, the Chinese leadership’s internal consolidation, growing cross-Strait enmeshment, and US attention deficit. Read more…

Changing Indian political landscape

Author: Vikas Kumar, Azim Premji University

Launched by anti-corruption crusaders last year, the Aam Aadmi Party (the Common Man Party, or AAP) defied expectations in the recent Delhi state assembly elections and came very close to winning half the seats — in a state so far dominated by the two national parties. Can the AAP replicate its success elsewhere in India and upset the major parties?

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UMNO divides Malaysia

Author: Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Malaysia is a divided nation.

The grim reality of elusive unity, plagued by ethnocentric and ethno-religious divisions, is underlined by the continual existence of fault lines Read more…

Onus on US, China to resolve Asia’s disputes

Author: Andrew Billo, Asia Society

With China’s pronouncement of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), and South Korea’s subsequent response with an ADIZ of its own, territorial issues in the East and Southeast Asian region are only growing in complexity.

But when we consider how disruptive the spats are toward the region’s economies, it is logical that a path toward resolution is found. Read more…

Jokowi or bust

Author: Liam Gammon, ANU

Years from now, analysts will look back on Indonesia’s 2014 elections as a watershed moment in the country’s democratisation.

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