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

The Cultural Revolution will not be revived

Author: Neil Thomas, ANU

This month marks 50 years since the official beginning of China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. On 16 May 1966, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party issued an internal circular denouncing ‘revisionists’ in the Party leadership. Read more…

Lethargic labour productivity slows growth in Pakistan

Author: Rashid Amjad, Lahore School of Economics

Since the 1980s, rapid globalisation — driven in part by the unprecedented pace of technological change, especially in information and communications technologies (ICT) — has allowed developing countries such as China and India to achieve exceptionally high rates of economic growth. Read more…

Reading between the lines of Tsai Ing-wen’s inaugural address

Author: Mark Harrison, University of Tasmania

On 20 May the Democratic Progressive Party’s Tsai Ing-wen was inaugurated as the 14th president of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The ceremony, held in front of the Japanese colonial-era presidential building, included theatrical re-enactments of key themes and events in the history of Taiwan. Read more…

Strike one for trade agreements in Northeast Asia

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Northeast Asia is a geo-politically complicated region. The two Asian giants Japan and China have at best a difficult political relationship. South Korea has unresolved history issues with Japan. The cross-Strait relationship between Taiwan and China appears to be improving but will always have to be treated with care. Read more…

South Korea–China FTA falls short on reform

Authors: Jeffrey J. Schott and Euijin Jung, PIIE

The South Korea–China Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which entered into effect in December 2015, has proved disappointing. The pact excludes too much economic activity and does too little to propel growth in both countries. Read more…

Putting Cambodian corruption into context

Author: Courtney Work, Chiangmai University

Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) is doing two things quite effectively. The first is rigorously investigating opposition party leader Kem Sokha for extramarital dalliances and promises of gifts to his mistresses. The second is ensuring that the sons of Om Yentieng, the head of ACU, have secure jobs within the government. Read more…

Asian integration a key part of Australia’s economic transition

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

Australia, as in the past, has the potential to play a role in shaping the Asian economic cooperation agenda in a way that deepens regional economic linkages and lifts the growth potential of Asian economies. Read more…

Responding to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis

Author: Iromi Dharmawardhane, ISAS

Sri Lanka’s balance of payments is in dire straits. The country’s mounting foreign and domestic public debt, a huge fiscal deficit and a severe foreign exchange shortfall have led to potentially calamitous economic circumstances. Sri Lanka has not yet secured the means to meet its upcoming foreign loan repayments — US$4.5 billion is due over the next year, to be followed by another US$4 billion in the subsequent year.

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Japan–Russia relations need more than just energy

Author: Anthony V. Rinna, Sino-NK

On 16 May 2016 Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern district, Yury Trutnev, met with officials from Japanese and Russian energy and metallurgical companies. The meeting followed a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss enhancing bilateral ties.

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A WTO challenge to China’s internet censorship is long overdue

Author: Claude Barfield, AEI

For the first time this year, the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) ‘National Trade Estimate Report’ took note of China’s Great Firewall. Granted, it was with this tame statement: ‘China’s filtering of cross-border Internet traffic has posed a significant burden to foreign suppliers’. Read more…

Can Obama kickstart Asia-Pacific reconciliation?

Author: Christian Wirth, Tohoku University

At the end of this month President Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima. The momentous visit is planned around Obama’s trip to nearby Ise-Shima for the G7 Summit. Read more…

G7 summit plays into Japan’s constitutional politics

Author: Ernils Larsson, Uppsala University

When the leaders of G7 countries descend on Japan later this week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken the opportunity to invite them to visit Ise Shrine as well. Although there were many reasons for the choice of Ise-Shima as location for the summit, it is impossible to ignore the underlying sentiments of religious nationalism.

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Should Duterte step back on the South China Sea?  

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (L) meeting with Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call in Davao city, southern Philippines, 16 May 2016.

Author: Aileen San Pablo-Baviera, University of the Philippines

Some countries have become wary of China’s aspiration to become a maritime power because the means pursued by the Xi Jinping government — as seen in the disputed South China Sea — appear to ignore the legitimate interests of its smaller neighbours, flout existing international norms and pose risks to regional peace and stability.

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Obama and the absence of apology in Hiroshima

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

‘As President of the United States of America, I express my profound apologies for the sufferings inflicted on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the atomic bombings’. These, of course, are the words that we are not going to hear Barack Obama speak in Hiroshima on 27 May Read more…

Filipino strongman Duterte not just talk

Author: Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University

There may be more to the Philippines’ new president Rodrigo Duterte than his tough guy image indicates. In the populist theatrics that are Filipino politics, the overwhelming election of Duterte should not have come as a surprise, even with common, but inaccurate, comparisons to the US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Read more…