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

Let’s be honest about what ASEAN can and cannot do

Author: Rodolfo C. Severino, ISEAS

More and more people, especially in the business sector, are asking whether the ASEAN Community can possibly be realised by 2015, as agreed upon by ASEAN leaders in both 2007 and 2009. Mindful of the possible impact on their bottom lines, ASEAN business leaders are even more specific: can the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) be achieved by 2015? And will regional businesses face stiffer competition? Read more…

Climate change: protecting Indonesia’s forests for the future

Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah, ANU

Climate change poses a grave threat to Indonesia’s nature-based economy, including its land-use and forestry sector. But it is also likely to provide good opportunities, especially in the incentives created to support the overall REDD+ program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus) in Indonesia. Read more…

Can South Korea and Japan overcome diplomatic freeze?

Author: Jonathan Berkshire Miller, Pacific Forum CSIS

With the visit to Yasukuni Shrine, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe further chilled the already downtrodden state of bilateral ties with South Korea. Despite his attempts to soothe anger in Seoul and Beijing by issuing an explanatory statement, Abe’s bold decision drew a series of strong rebukes — including a somewhat surprising public condemnation from Washington. Read more…

AAP forces BJP to get its act together

Author: Rajiv Kumar, Centre for Policy Research

A brand new political party has arisen from India’s 2013 economic downturn. The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) emergence is perhaps the most disruptive event in India’s post-independence political history. The party’s issue-based politics, which emphasise good governance, fighting corruption, people’s participation and transparency, poses a major challenge to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties in India. Read more…

IMF reform and isolationism in the US Congress

Author: Jeffrey Frankel, Harvard University

A long-awaited reform of the International Monetary Fund has now been carelessly blocked by the US Congress. This decision is just the latest in a series of self-inflicted blows since the turn of the century that have needlessly undermined the claim of the United States to global leadership. Read more…

Abe’s defence ambitions alarm region

Author: Gui Yongtao, Peking University

The move by Shinzo Abe’s administration toward lifting the ban on the exercise of the right to collective self-defence is not driven by the imperatives of the US-Japan alliance, nor by Japan’s internationalist aspirations to contribute more to global peace. Read more…

The best hope yet for trade multilateralism

Author: Razeen Sally, NUS and ECIPE

Success at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013 has brought the WTO back to life after years of lying moribund. But can it keep up the momentum from Bali and deliver other deals that eluded 12 years of Doha Round negotiations?

The Bali agreement on trade facilitation is indeed welcome. Read more…

Indonesia’s reform priorities: Change of pace ahead after the SBY stasis

Author: Edward Aspinall, ANU

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s presidency will come to an end in 2014. Lauded internationally as a reformer and moderniser, at home SBY (as he is popularly known) is largely viewed as a disappointment. Heavy on rhetoric and obsessed with his personal dignity, he has been reluctant to offend powerful economic actors or the parties that make up his governing coalition. Read more…

Ten trends that will shape Asia in 2014

Author: Evan A. Feigenbaum, Carnegie Endowment

A fraught 2014 lies ahead for Asia. Political risks will rise, security tensions will increase and scepticism will continue to grow about whether major Asian governments are sufficiently committed to growth-conducive reforms. Ten trends will shape this more volatile Asia over the next 12 months and beyond. Read more…

Resolving Thailand’s deadly political imbroglio

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy, and one of its real economic success stories over the past decade, is stalled in a political standoff that threatens not only to halve its recent 6.5 per cent growth rate to 3 per cent this year but also undermine the fragile foundations of its democracy. Read more…

Blowing the whistle on Thai democracy

Author: Jacob Hogan, Chulalongkorn University

Amidst glitzy department stores and brand-name billboards, somewhere between 170,000 and 3 million self-described ‘peaceful’, ‘sophisticated’ and ‘educated’ protesters have paralysed central Bangkok in the past week. They are demanding the government’s resignation and the appointment of an unelected ‘council of elders’ to push through sweeping reforms in order to restore democracy and eliminate corruption in Thailand. Read more…

India and Japan Asia’s win-win partnership

Authors: Geethanjali Nataraj and Abhirup Bhunia, ORF

While Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been enjoying high popular support ever since he took office in December 2012, support in India for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is declining. But that is no obstacle as far as Indo-Japanese ties are concerned.

India’s relations with Japan will likely get a further fillip when Abe visits India as the chief guest for today’s Republic Day festival. Read more…

Abolishing government detention in China for public health

Author: Joseph D. Tucker, UNC

The Chinese government has begun to dismantle the system of re-education through labor (RTL), one of the pillars of its extensive extra-judicial administrative detention system. While this development has clear implications for the rule of law and administrative regulation in China, it could also reap public health benefits. Read more…

Indian food security and the WTO deal

Authors: Abhirup Bhunia and Geethanjali Nataraj, ORF

The ninth ministerial conference of the WTO held in Bali has been projected in the Indian media as a triumph of India’s food security needs.

But this view could be misplaced on two counts. Read more…

Peering into the gloom of East Asia’s future

Author: Ron Huisken, ANU

The first pivot to Asia in recent times was an intellectual one in the years immediately following the end of the Cold War. When the academic and policy world pondered an international landscape devoid of the superpower standoff, two points of strong consensus emerged fairly quickly. First, the end of the Cold War made the world much safer. Second, within this generally positive assessment, East Asia loomed as the region likely to experience both the strongest economic growth and the greatest relative turbulence on the security front. Read more…