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

2015 is the year of Chinese cyber power

Author: Greg Austin, EastWest Institute

In February 2014 Chinese President Xi Jingping declared his intent to do everything necessary for China to become a cyber power. Since then Xi and his government have been hyperactive on all relevant fronts: political, legal, economic, organisational and diplomatic. The Chinese leadership’s attention became even more focused on cyber issues in May 2014 when the United States indicted five Chinese military personnel for cyber espionage involving commercial secrets of US-based corporations. Read more…

Bougainville looks towards the referendum at 2015 election

Authors: Kerryn Baker and Thiago Cintra Oppermann, ANU

Bougainville went to the polls in May 2015 for the third Autonomous Bougainville Government election since the Bougainville Peace Agreement was signed in 2001. The election was a significant political milestone for the region, marking the beginning of a five-year window in which a referendum on independence is scheduled to be held. It also saw the first woman member of the House of Representatives to be elected in an open seat, Josephine Getsi of Peit constituency. Read more…

Why fears over the Australia–China FTA are overblown

Author: James Laurenceson, ACRI

After 10 years of negotiations and the official signing in June 2015, the Australia–China free trade agreement (FTA) still isn’t a done deal. A coalition of Australian trade unions is seeking to ‘stop the China FTA’ at the final hurdle, a vote in federal parliament. Read more…

ASEAN yet to lay the foundations of the AEC

Author: Pattharapong Rattanasevee, Burapha University

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is set to arrive at the end of 2015. It is a significant step forward and could be a crucial turning point for ASEAN. But without a strong central authority and mandate, ASEAN integration will remain in a mess and the AEC remain an illusion. Read more…

China needs to turn its capital ideas into SOE reform

Authors: Zhengjun Zhang and Sarah Du, King Parallel

State-owned enterprise (SOE) reform in China has come a long way.

SOEs contribute to 23.4 per cent of industrial revenue and 21.6 per cent of profits — a significant drop from more than 80 per cent of both industrial revenue and profits at the start of the reform and opening up in the late 1970s. Read more…

Malaysia’s mess is Mahathir-made

Author: Dan Slater, University of Chicago

At least embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is right about one thing. The current mess in Malaysian politics is the making of his greatest nemesis, Mahathir Mohamad, who led the Southeast Asian nation with an iron fist from 1981–2003. What Najib fails to fathom is that Mahathir has not produced this mess by criticising his leadership, but by paving Najib’s path to power in the fashion he did during his decades in office. Read more…

Is China a market economy?

Authors: Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Cathleen Cimino-Isaacs, PIIE

There’s a potential mega-battle brewing over trade rules and the provision of market economy status for China that could reach the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2016.

Whether particular countries grant China market economy status has important implications for the adjudication of anti-dumping cases. Read more…

China aims to set the regional cooperation agenda

Author: Chen Dongxiao, SIIS

In late October 2013, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee held a conference of Diplomatic Work with Neighbouring Countries  in Beijing, where it unveiled new priorities under its New Neighbourhood Diplomacy guidelines. The new approach makes China’s neighbourhood, covering both continental and maritime Asia, the top strategic priority for the first time. Read more…

Middle-power multilateralism bringing China into the fold

Author: Yoshihide Soeya, Keio University

China is a central concern in the evolving East Asian order, and its aggressive behaviour toward disputed islands in the South and East China Seas is attracting growing concern. China’s uncompromising attitudes reflect growing confidence in its ability to create or re-create a China-centred order in Asia commensurate with its power and interests. Read more…

Down to the wire on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Officials and ministers from around the Pacific are descending on Hawaii this week for what should be the final round in the negotiation of the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The big two in the arrangement — Japan and the United States — appear to have settled, and this bilateral between the two largest parties to the negotiation will be by far its most significant outcome. But there is still uncertainty about whether the agreement will be put to bed within the week and what its shape will finally be. Read more…

The race to a risky Trans-Pacific Partnership deal

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

The largest hurdle for the 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement — the US president’s ability to get Trade Promotion Authority, or fast track — has been cleared. Many people think that the TPP can be wrapped up in a few months. Read more…

How to secure equal representation in India’s parliament?

Author: Vidisha Mishra, Observer Research Foundation

The parliament of a representative democracy is essentially a mirror of the democracy’s society. Naturally, societies still entrenched in patriarchal constructs have male-dominated legislatures. While women are still globally underrepresented in decision-making roles, the Indian Parliament in particular continues to rank among the lowest in the world in women’s representation. Read more…

The Philippines’ education investment scores top marks

Filipino pupils return their papers in a classroom during the first day of school at the President Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Quezon city, east suburban Manila, Philippines, 02 June 2014.

Author: Jose Ramon G. Albert, Philippine Institute for Development Studies

While the Philippines has had robust economic growth since 2010, even despite a weak global economy, it has had little progress in reducing income poverty. Recognising that some segments of society are left out in growth processes, the Philippine government has made inclusive growth the cornerstone of its most recent Philippine Development Plan. Read more…

With China’s oil rig back in the South China Sea, what’s Vietnam’s play?

Author: Chau Bao Nguyen, University of East Anglia

The redeployment of a Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea (SCS) shows an inconsistency in the rhetoric and practice of China’s policy in the disputed waters. Together with its mass land reclamation activities, these actions are part and parcel of coercive diplomacy. It affirms China’s territorial ambition in the highly strategic sea. But is it likely to escalate into regional conflict? Read more…

Minorities forgotten as Vietnam–US ties improve

Author: Helen Clark, Deakin University

Twenty years after the post–war normalisation of Vietnam–US ties, the two nations are increasingly close. This process has sped up with China’s moves in the South China Sea since 2014, although a number of issues still hold the relationship back:  Vietnam wants the embargo on weapons sales gone and the United States wants to see an improvement in human rights.  Read more…