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

How the Ukraine crisis is pushing two superpowers together

Author: Artyom Lukin, Far Eastern Federal University.

There is one international player that stands to gain from the recent turn of events in Ukraine, regardless of its outcome. This player apparently has nothing to do with the crisis that has engulfed Russia, the EU and the United States, and makes a point of staying on the sidelines. This player is China. Read more…

Abbott pivots from enragement to engagement of Asia

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott heads off on a major expedition at the end of this week in a make-or-break effort to unlock the opportunities of the Asian century for his country in Japan, South Korea and China. The mission includes a large delegation of businesspeople and state premiers as well as many of Australia’s top officials. It embraces Australia’s top-three export markets Read more…

Embracing China as number one

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

China is Australia’s most important economic partner. That is true now and it is only likely to become more so in the future.

In January Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop unexpectedly declared that ‘the United States remains our single most important economic partner. When you combine two-way trade and investment, it stands at over $1 trillion’. Read more…

Is high handed regional diplomacy really in Australia’s interest?

Author: Donald K. Anton, ANU

In recent times reports in the popular press recount too often international actions taken by Australia that appear decidedly undiplomatic — at least undiplomatic in the sense that they belie an effective management of international relations. These actions have been perceived as provocative (or worse) by a number of neighbours in the region. Read more…

Incredible India?

Author: Manjula Chaudhary, Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management

‘Incredible India’, an international marketing campaign launched by the Indian government, incorporates images of a vibrant heritage that would seem to guarantee tourism success. India is, after all, a country the size of a continent, bestowed with a variety of natural attractions, archaeological remains, and monuments that showcase over 5000 years of history. Read more…

Resource depletion threatens Indonesia’s future

Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah, ANU

The 2014 general election in Indonesia brings an opportunity for the Indonesian public to demand better natural resource management and environmental protection. Resource depletion may shake the very foundation of Indonesia’s exports and eventually its economy. With global demand for commodities likely to increase — especially in fast-growing emerging markets — export growth from Indonesia can only remain buoyant if the country manages its resources wisely. Read more…

Beijing’s South China Sea strategies: consolidation and provocation

Author: Gregory Poling, CSIS

Recent months have seen a steady progression of China’s long-term strategy in the South China Sea, which can be loosely divided into two parts. Beijing is building up its maritime surveillance forces in the area and strengthening effective control of the features it occupies. At the same time, Chinese vessels are venturing far afield with greater frequency to assert Beijing’s claims to the entire area encompassed by the ‘nine-dash line’, and to provoke missteps by fellow claimants. Read more…

Challenges remain for China–Sri Lanka FTA

Author: Saman Kelegama, IPS

Although China–Sri Lanka trade had been growing steadily beforehand, China was not a large trading partner of Sri Lanka until 2005, which was a turning point in China–Sri Lankan economic relations. In the mid-2000s, China was increasingly asserting its global power via bilateral loans for developing countries in Asia and other continents. In Sri Lanka, a new government was looking for unconditional loans with negotiable repayment periods to defeat a drawn-out separatist war and develop neglected infrastructure in the country. Read more…

Steady as she goes for Indonesian foreign policy, even with a new president

Author: Awidya Santikajaya, ANU

During his two terms in office, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been lauded for reviving activism in Indonesia’s foreign policy after years of difficulty following the 1997–98 Asian financial crisis and the fall of President Suharto. But will the upcoming leadership transition result in a drastic change in Indonesia’s foreign policy? Read more…

Road to constitutional amendment in Myanmar going nowhere

Author: Melissa Crouch, NUS

Since Myanmar’s Joint Parliamentary Constitution Review Committee submitted its report to the Union Parliament on 31 January 2014, the constitutional amendment saga has taken another twist.

The Committee was given the task of reviewing the 2008 Constitution, which had been drafted by the previous military junta. It was required to make recommendations to the parliament, yet it ultimately avoided this responsibility. Read more…

The Ukrainian crisis and Japan’s dilemma

Author: Dmitry Filippov, University of Sheffield

The timing of the Ukrainian crisis could not have been worse for Japan, as it presented Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with the tactical dilemma of whether or not to fall in line with the international community by imposing sanctions against Russia.

So far, Japan’s reaction has been lukewarm compared to the response of the United States and the European Union. Read more…

Taiwan: the next democracy in crisis?

Author: Lauren Dickey, CFR

The 18 March student occupation of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan has reopened lingering questions about the state of Taiwan’s democracy.

While political protests are a seemingly common affair in Taiwan, takeovers of parliament have been unprecedented. Read more…

Myanmar dressing for a role on the world stage

Author: Chit Win, ANU

In the aftermath of the devastating Cyclone Nargis in 2008, ASEAN and the UN organised an international pledging conference in Myanmar to rally international financial support. It was the biggest international event of its kind in the country’s history. Read more…

Hard times force Pakistan to privatise

Author: Sajjad Ashraf, NUS

On returning to power after 14 years in 2013 the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government led by Nawaz Sharif faced a bankrupt economy. While mostly caused by an abysmally low tax-to-GDP ratio, the public sector enterprises (PSEs) had also haemorrhaged US$25 billion over the previous five years.

Sharif remains desperate for immediate IMF support to keep Pakistan afloat. Read more…

Is China preparing for a ‘short, sharp war’ against Japan?

Authors: Jonathan D. Pollack, Brookings Institution, and Dennis J. Blasko, independent China military analyst

Heightened tensions between China and Japan in recent months have triggered widespread debate over Beijing’s ultimate intentions. There are even predictions of direct armed conflict in the East China Sea. Is an acute crisis likely? What potential actions might China take to protect its interests? Read more…