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

Is the Thai Junta’s support network starting to fray?

Author: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University

No country in Southeast Asia shoots itself in the foot more than Thailand. With so much going for it, the second-largest economy in the region still manages to underperform spectacularly. Its growth trajectory is in the 2–3 per cent range even though it has the potential to track twice that figure. Read more…

Are East Asian states really hedging between the US and China?

Authors: Darren J. Lim, ANU and Zack Cooper, CSIS

The term ‘hedging’, one of the most widely used in contemporary discussions on East Asian security, is intended to capture the fact that most states in the region face conflicting economic and security interests. States wish to maximise trade and investment ties with Beijing and welcome China into the region’s political order, but also feel the need to maintain a close security relationship with Washington. Read more…

India’s jumbled trade policy

Author: Soyen Park, Korea University

Since becoming India’s prime minister in May 2014, Narendra Modi has sought to make the country ‘open for business’. But while there is hope that his pro-business policies — often dubbed ‘Modinomics’ — will improve economic growth, aspects of India’s foreign trade policy seem at odds with the country’s aspiration for deeper engagement with the world economy. Read more…

Whither cross-Strait relations?

Authors: Hoo Tiang Boon and James Char, RSIS

What does the victory of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan’s presidential election mean for cross-Strait relations? Today’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is a considerably different political animal to former president Chen Shui-bian’s DPP. Read more…

Cambodia’s development paradox

Author: Heidi Dahles, Griffith University

In 2015 Cambodia has been hailed for its accomplishments in meeting its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. The recent UN report calls Cambodia an ‘early achiever’ performing particularly well on poverty alleviation. The Cambodian economy grew on average 7.8 per cent in 2004–2014, achieving one of the fastest growth rates in the world during this period. Read more…

Comfort women agreement must engage civil society

Author: Mary M. McCarthy, Drake University

In the aftermath of North Korea’s recent nuclear test, experts quickly attested to its significance for the 28 December agreement between Japan and South Korea on the ‘comfort women’ issue. The nuclear test provides a pressing reason for why the historical legacy issues that have plagued the South Korea–Japan relationship must be resolved and a means to further solidify the burgeoning thaw in those relations. Read more…

A bright future for the Philippines

Author: Ganeshan Wignaraja, Asian Development Bank

Economic forecasting is always difficult. The American economist John Kenneth Galbraith famously said ‘we have two sorts of forecasters: those who don’t know and those who don’t know they don’t know’. Yet, while some sceptics assert that economic forecasts are of little value, they are useful for governments and firms to develop their plans and budgets for the year ahead. Read more…

Japan is sinking in a sea of money

Author: Masanaga Kumakura, Komazawa University

According to conventional economic theory, the monetisation of government debt is a recipe for fiscal profligacy and hyperinflation. It should be the last thing any credible central bank turns its hand to. But this is precisely what the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has been doing for the last three years. Read more…

Economic imperatives warm Thai–Cambodian ties

Author: Greg Raymond, ANU

The December 2015 meeting between Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen has boosted bilateral relations. Relations got off to a rocky start after the Thai coup of May 2014 when Thailand abruptly ordered the exit of up to 100,000 unregistered Cambodian workers. Read more…

Pakistan inches towards stability

Author: Ghulam Ali, Peking University

After a dramatic end to 2014, Pakistan has gradually moved towards greater political and economic stability. This has been largely due to its successes in reducing terrorism, which injected new hopes about the country’s ability to handle crises. Read more…

Stormy seas ahead for the Philippine economy?

Author: Gilbert Llanto, PIDS

The Philippines has performed well in the past few years relative to its peers. It demonstrated great resilience to exogenous shocks that would have undone less capable economies. But will it be able to sustain its positive economic position? Read more…

Can the NLD reform Myanmar’s economy?

Author: Lex Rieffel, Brookings Institution

Aung San Suu Kyi and her government will take office in early April 2016. But the Myanmar people’s expectations of what Suu Kyi’s government can accomplish in its five-year term are unrealistically high. Read more…

The new geo-politics in Asia…and farewell

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Many are trying to get their minds around what the huge change in the contours of regional power mean for the stability of the political order in Asia today. Are we doomed to inevitable conflict between the established powers, the United States in particular, and the emerging powers, notably China, as they jostle for political space? Read more…

Building Asian security

Author: Amitav Acharya, American University

A principal challenge to Asian security today is that the various approaches to the security order seem to be working at cross-purposes. Take the United States and China. Read more…

Navigating the rocky road to a multipolar order

Author: Andrew Sheng, Asia Global Institute

2015 in the Asia Pacific will be remembered as a year of shambolic shifts towards a more multipolar economic and political order. The United States alone can no longer shape global destiny but will have to share power with allies and rivals, even as regional powers find themselves threatened by their own challenges. Read more…