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

China’s its own worst enemy in regional relations

Author: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University

China’s pattern of regional conduct has come increasingly into focus in recent times. Its behaviour is much less about maintaining the ‘status quo’, and much more about revising the established dynamics and contours in the region to its preferences. Read more…

Growth engines and development traps

Authors: James Riedel, Johns Hopkins University, and Pham Thi Thu Tra, MIT Vietnam

There is nothing more compelling than a catchy metaphor to attract attention and garner support for policy prescriptions. ‘Engines’ and ‘traps’ are two of the most popular metaphors in the development literature. Read more…

How the NLD is reshaping Myanmar’s government

Author: Trevor Wilson, ANU

The character and composition of Myanmar’s new National League for Democracy (NLD) government is gradually taking shape after the party’s sweeping victory in the November 2015 elections. A peaceful and orderly transfer of power from the former military-dominated government of reformist president Thein Sein culminated in the swearing in of the new government on 30 March.

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Malaysia’s government silencing dissent

Author: Ross Tapsell, ANU

The current scandal embroiling Prime Minister Najib Razak has led the Malaysian government to crack down on press freedoms. But a restricted mainstream Malaysian media has not stopped the publishing online of information on the ongoing corruption scandal surrounding the Prime Minister and 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Read more…

Is Japan caught in an upper income trap?

Author: Naohiro Yashiro, Showa Women’s University

Japan’s economy is stagnant and has been so for quite some time now. It looks as if Japan is now in the ‘upper income trap’. In comparison with its 10 per cent real GDP growth rate between 1950 and 1960 and 4 per cent growth rate between 1970 and 1980 Read more…

New rule-based order needed to save the Mekong

Author: Nguyen Khac Giang, VEPR

As Vietnam suffers its worst drought in nearly a century and Cambodia faces a water shortage that could jeopardise the livelihoods of 1.5 million people, debates have been reignited over the mega dams built along the Mekong. Read more…

Escaping the middle income trap

Authors: Shiro Armstrong and Tom Westland, ANU

After a turbulent 2015, China’s major stock exchanges took another hit in January. Chinese authorities have in the past clumsily tried to stop the free fall in markets with various degrees of success. Read more…

China’s two big challenges

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Asia’s — and China’s — path to prosperity is not going to be easy. China’s neighbours in Northeast Asia managed to succeed in joining the club of high income countries and the rest of East Asia is trying to emulate that. But there’s no automatic route to the top. Read more…

Can Asia break free of great-power dynamics?

Author: Hugh White, ANU

Asia’s recent decades of economic growth have depended, among other things, on a remarkable period of regional peace and stability. The region will only keep growing if that can be sustained. We cannot take this for granted. Read more…

India must waste no time Acting East

Author: Hemant Shiv, ANU

Since the turn of the 21st century, the Asia-Pacific region has become central to Indian strategic thinking. The Act East policy, unveiled by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in late 2014, reinforced this objective. Read more…

What Australia’s stance on the South China Sea means for Southeast Asia

Author: Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto, ANU

Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper (DWP) directs Australia’s strategic attention towards maritime Southeast Asia. While the 2009 and 2013 Defence White Papers also focused on this region, the 2016 DWP bluntly expresses Australia’s concerns in the South China Sea. Read more…

A new chapter in Australia–Mongolia relations

Author: Martin Foo, Australian Centre for Financial Studies

In February 1987, a pair of junior American diplomats arrived in pre-democratic Mongolia to lay the groundwork for establishing a US embassy — no simple task in Ulaanbaatar, the world’s coldest capital. When the embassy opened a year later, its American staff resided in a ramshackle apartment building that they nicknamed ‘Faulty Towers‘. Much has changed since then.

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South Korea’s demographic dilemma

Authors: Lee Sang Ok and Tan Teck Boon, RSIS

South Korea is undergoing rapid demographic ageing. Only 551,000 Koreans or 2.9 per cent of the population were aged 65 or above when the Korean War broke out in 1950. But according to the United Nations World Population Prospects (UNWPP), 6.4 million Koreans, or 12.7 per cent of South Korea’s population, were aged 65 or above in 2014. By 2026 an astounding 10.7 million Koreans — 20.5 per cent of the population — are expected to be aged 65 or above.

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Managing Indonesia’s imprisoned extremists

Author: Cameron Sumpter, RSIS

Plans to transfer prisoners convicted of terrorism charges to a purpose-built ‘de-radicalisation’ facility have re-emerged in Indonesia, following increased concerns about recidivism and inmate recruitment. Read more…

Is Australia’s Defence White Paper achievable?

Author: Sam Bateman, RSIS

Australia’s new Defence White Paper provides for a massive increase in defence spending, largely to acquire new maritime capabilities. But questions surround whether this plan will be achievable and whether the paper’s long-term strategic outlook is valid. Read more…