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

ASEAN and China at a crossroads after South China Sea ruling

Soldiers of People's Liberation Army (PLA) take part in a search and rescue exercise in the Paracel Islands. (Photo: Reuters)

Author: Sourabh Gupta, ICAS

Almost 30 years to the day that a young, Harvard-trained American lawyer won a famous judgment at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the United States, Paul S Reichler pulled off another momentous victory at The Hague. This time the judgment was against China for having breached its international treaty obligations in the South China Sea. Read more…

Can China eradicate poverty?

A boy, whose parents collect garbage for a living, plays on a makeshift swing at his dwelling, in Yuncheng, Shanxi province, 10 March 2015. (Photo: Reuters).

Author: Ding Dou, Peking University

China has had remarkable success in alleviating poverty. According to World Bank statistics, over the past several decades China has accounted for more than 70 per cent of reductions in global poverty. The poverty-stricken population in China has plunged from 770 million people in 1978 Read more…

Storm clouds gathering in the South China Sea

Philippine Marines fold a Philippine national flag during a flag retreat at the BRP Sierra Madre, a marooned transport ship in the South China Sea. (Photo: Reuters).

Author: Rahul Mishra, ICWA, New Delhi

Clearing the haze of speculation, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) handed down its ruling on the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines on 12 July. The Philippines filed the case under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2013. Read more…

Keeping Vietnam’s textile and garment industry competitive

Women work at a yarn weaving plant of the Nam Dinh textile and garment corporation in Nam Dinh city, south of Hanoi July 14, 2016. (Photo: Reuters).

Authors: Tomoo Kikuchi, NUS and Huong Vo, VNU

Vietnam has transformed from one of the world’s poorest countries to a lower middle income economy in just 25 years. Beginning in 1986, Vietnam undertook key structural reforms in various areas, including state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform, private sector development, financial reform, public expenditure management and trade liberalisation. Read more…

ASEAN and the Brexit shock

A police officer stands near national flags of ASEAN counties during the 25th ASEAN Summit in Myanmar. (Photo: Reuters).

Author: Ponciano Intal Jr., ERIA

The European Union and ASEAN have very different models of economic integration. Yet ASEAN and its members worry about what Britain’s exit from the European Union may mean for the future of ASEAN. Brexit provides a powerful motivation to get the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) agenda right. Read more…

Will Tokyo elect its first female governor?

Former defense minister Yuriko Koike, a candidate running in the Tokyo gubernatorial election, attends a joint news conference with other potential candidates at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo: Reuters).

Author: Donna Weeks, Musashino University

On 31 July, just over 11 million voters in Tokyo will be asked to return to the ballot boxes to vote for a new governor. This will happen just three weeks after the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government under Shinzo Abe was returned to power in the upper house. Read more…

Why Najib’s prime ministership is over

An artist paints a picture of Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 7 December 2015. (Photo: Reuters).

Author: James Chin, University of Tasmania

Last week the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that it was taking action to seek ‘the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in assets’ related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). This action will likely start the process that will eventually lead Read more…

How Trump’s trade policy is dividing Republicans

Masks of US Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump are seen drying on shelves at a factory in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, China, 25 May 2016. (Photo: Reuters).

Author: Claude Barfield, AEI

No issue better illustrates the agony and self-inflicted wounds in the Republican Party than the Trump-inspired clashes over the future of US trade policy.

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Can Asia transform international investment law?

A man walks near a container ship at a port in Tokyo, Japan, 20 October 2015. (Photo: Reuters).

Author: Stephan W. Schill, University of Amsterdam

European and North American capital exporting countries have shaped international investment law for most of its history. They pushed for the customary international minimum standard of protection, forged the classical model of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and now drive the present recalibration of international investment law. Read more…

Is the Chinese economy closed?

A man looks at products of Smithfield, acquired by Shuanghui, on display at a news conference on the company's annual results in Hong Kong, China, 29 March 2016. (Photo: Reuters).

Author: David Dollar, Brookings

China is unusual in that it is a developing country that has emerged as a major investor. China itself is an important destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), and opening to the outside world has been an important part of its reform program since 1978. Read more…

Thailand’s constitutional referendum is in a royal mess

A man eats a bread with ‘no’ written on it during a campaign against junta-backed draft constitution, ahead of the referendum, Thailand, 24 July 2016. (Photo: Reuters).

Author: Patrick Jory, UQ

After some months of uncertainty, a representative from Thailand’s Democrats Party last week declared in a televised seminar that the party would not support the proposed draft constitution in the 7 August referendum. This follows an earlier declaration from the pro-Thaksin Puea Thai party that it also opposed the draft. Read more…

Changing masculinities in East Asian pop culture

Author: Geng Song, UHK

Descendants of the Sun, a South Korean TV drama featuring a romance between a soldier and a surgeon in a fictional war-torn nation, is reigniting K-drama fever across Asia. Read more…

Cause for optimism in the South China Sea

Author: Donald Rothwell, ANU

The ruling by the Annex VII Tribunal on the South China Sea maritime dispute between the Philippines and China lays down an unprecedented legal benchmark for disputes in the region. Read more…

Japan’s constitutional choice

A protester raises a placard as they gather at a rally against Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to expand Japan's military role. (Photo: Reuters)

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

After Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, the US-led occupation authority drafted the country a new constitution designed to disarm and democratise the former enemy. Japan’s constitution underpins its liberal democratic institutions and guarantees Western-style individual human rights.

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Can Abe revise Japan’s peace constitution?

Author: Ben Ascione, ANU

Since the 10 July upper house election in Japan there has been widespread speculation that the government will move to formally revise the country’s constitution including the Article 9 ‘peace clause’. This now appears possible since the Abe-led Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), along with its junior coalition partner Komeito and sympathetic micro-sized right-leaning opposition parties, controls the two-thirds majorities in both houses needed to take constitutional amendments to a referendum. Read more…