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

TPP keeps the internet’s rules liberal

Author: Claude Barfield, American Enterprise Institute

There has been a good deal of hype touting the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as the first ‘21st century’ trade pact. Whether it lives up to this high accolade is currently under debate, both in the United States and among the 11 other TPP member states that still need to pass the agreement through their national legislatures. But in one area — e-commerce — there is no doubt that the negotiators did agree to provisions that strongly advance liberalisation of internet trade flows and enhance commerce and investment through the medium of cyberspace. Read more…

Indonesia’s measured response to terror

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Indonesia had been quietly winning the war on terror. The response — from both Indonesian government and society — to the Bali bombings in 2002, which killed 202 people and injured 208 was measured, effective and served to dismantle the extremist Islamic group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Read more…

What the Jakarta attacks mean for the year ahead

Author: Greg Barton, ADI

Those behind the attacks in Jakarta on 14 January desperately hoped to emulate the 13 November attacks in Paris. This time they fell far short. The attackers, contrary to initial impressions, were entirely locally organised and failed at almost every level. Four innocent lives were lost but they had clearly hoped to take many more. Read more…

Is Indonesia’s anti-terror strategy enough?

Author: Yohanes Sulaiman, General Achmad Yani University

It has been more than a month since four militants claiming to be followers of the so-called Islamic State (IS) attacked a police post and a café in central Jakarta, killing four people. Following the attack, terrorism experts warned of more attacks from IS-affiliated groups. Read more…

It’s time that China seriously engaged with India

Author: Yizhe Daniel Xie, Waseda University

The topic of China dominates almost every economic and foreign policy discussion in India. Yet the concept of a rising India is still a foreign concept in the circles of Chinese elites. Many Chinese are often surprised or amused by the enthusiasm of analysts in comparing China and India. In the eyes of many Chinese the only similarities are that both countries are in Asia and have a population of over a billion people. Read more…

Japan’s quest for UN Security Council reform going nowhere

Author: Toshitaka Takeuchi, Osaka University

January 2016 marked the beginning of Japan’s most recent two-year term as an elected, non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). This is Japan’s 11th term, the most of any nation in the world. Japan’s dream is to become a permanent member of the UNSC. But can this dream really come true?

Read more…

China’s expanding influence in Laos

Author: Samuel Ku, Sun Yat-sen University

The recently signed Joint General Scheme of Mohan–Boten Economic Cooperation Zone is the first cross-border economic cooperation zone that China has established in Laos and, for that matter, in the whole of Southeast Asia. The deal hints at the Asian giant’s goal to expand its economic ties with its southern neighbours.

Read more…

What does Amari’s resignation mean for Abenomics?

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

Another Japanese minister bites the dust with Akira Amari’s resignation from the Shinzo Abe cabinet on 28 January. Yet this time, there may be more repercussions than usual for the government. Read more…

Getting the basics right on India’s SEZs

Author: Amitendu Palit, Institute of South Asian Studies

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s signature ‘Make in India’ initiative — which aims to transform India into a global manufacturing hub — specially mentions the importance of special economic zones (SEZs) in attracting foreign investors. But despite the strong pitch, these export-oriented enclaves have struggled to draw investments. Read more…

Sanctions against North Korea: a hammer with no nails

Author: Joseph M. DeThomas, Pennsylvania State University

North Korea’s recent nuclear and long-range rocket tests appear to have created a policy tipping point. Opinion in the United States, South Korea and Japan has shifted away from a policy of ‘strategic patience’ towards one that employs additional sanctions to compel North Korea to reverse its nuclear weapons and missile programs. But we shouldn’t expect too much in terms of concrete results.

Read more…

Will Cambodia’s youth secure political change?

Author: Chandara Khun, Open Development Cambodia

Cambodia’s 2013 election was characterised by both the growing engagement of young voters and by numerous instances of collective violence. How will these developments impact Cambodian politics in the lead-up to the 2018 National Assembly election?

Read more…

Japan’s vision for the East Asian security order

Author: Ryo Sahashi, Kanagawa University

The regional order in East Asia is in flux. The relative decline of US power in Asia has led to new challenges. The principles, rules, norms and methods for managing the international agenda are being questioned. The willingness of the United States to maintain an active role in East Asia, alongside the behaviour of China and key groupings such as ASEAN will define the future of the region. Read more…

Managing the next phase of Myanmar’s political transition

Author: Chit Win, ANU

For the past five years, Myanmar’s transition has mainly been about building legitimacy. By implementing various political and economic reforms, President Thein Sein validated his government and, more importantly, the new political arrangement, created under the 2008 constitution. Read more…

The ever-shifting sands of Japanese apologies

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

On 16 February, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida signed a ‘Strategy for Co-operation in the Pacific’, in which both countries emphasised their shared values of ‘democracy, human rights and the rule of law’. Read more…

Asia and the next financial crisis

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

The Asian financial crisis of 1997–98 was a huge turning point in Asia. Asia’s confidence in the IMF and the US leadership to help through global institutions in a time of crisis was seriously shaken. The disillusionment was deepest in Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok and Jakarta — Beijing was then an innocent defender of the status quo. Read more…