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

How to manage geopolitical instability in East Asia

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi take their seats before a meeting on the sidelines of a gathering of Foreign Ministers of the G20 leading and developing economies at the World Conference Center in Bonn, western Germany, 17 February 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Brendan Smialowski).

Author: Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

East Asia and the world are facing uncertain times. The balance of regional power is shifting as emerging market economies such as China are benefiting from globalisation and are continuing to rise. Read more…

China needs legal reform before more elections

Election officials carry ballot boxes at the end of an election for the next village chief and committee, amid heavy rainfalls in Wukan village, Guangdong province 31 March 2014. People of the southern Chinese village of Wukan carried on with the election amid rainstorm on Monday that some say is threatened by higher government trying to wrestle back control after a landmark rebellion over two years ago. (Photo: Reuters/Petar Kujundzic).

Author: John Kennedy, University of Kansas

When village elections were first introduced in China, the competitive elections with an open nomination process seemed like an amazing democratic development within the single party authoritarian regime. Yet popular elections for leaders has still not moved beyond the village level. Read more…

Rainsy days for Cambodian democracy

Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy answers questions during an interview with Reuters at a hotel in metro Manila, Philippines 29 June 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco).

Author: Kheang Un, Northern Illinois University

On 11 February 2017, Sam Rainsy resigned from his role as leader of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP). Rainsy made it clear to the public that his resignation was a ‘pre-emptive measure’ to save the CNRP from being dissolved Read more…

The churn in China’s leadership

Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a speech at the celebration of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

The world continues to be mesmerised by the change in political leadership and the antics of the new Trump administration in Washington. But the biggest change in more than a decade is also underway in the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing. Read more…

How will Xi shake up the CCP?

Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the media during an official visit in Bern, Switzerland (Photo: Reuters/Denis Balibouse).

Author: Dong Dong Zhang, ANU

This year will see major change in China’s political leadership as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) convenes its 19th National Congress in late 2017. Nomination of 2300 delegates from the CCP’s 89 million members began across the party’s 40 selectorates nationwide in November 2016 and is expected to finish by the end of June 2017.

Read more…

Kim Jong-un reveals his colours one more time

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at Pyongyang Orphan's Primary School, released 2 February, 2017 (Photo: Reuters).

Author: Jonathan D. Pollack, Brookings Institution

In separate events only two days apart, Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s impetuous young leader, yet again reminded the outside world of his determination to defy international norms by all available means. Read more…

Dialling down the ambition on China’s energy plans

A coal-burning power plant in Baotou, China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, 31 October, 2010 (Photo: Reuters/David Gray).

Author: Olivia Boyd, ANU

Late last year, the Chinese government released the 13th Five Year Plan (FYP) for Power Sector Development. This is the first time since 2001 that China has released a specific FYP for electricity and demonstrates the priority that the government is placing on central coordination of far-reaching changes in the power sector. Read more…

Chinese think tanks: a new ‘revolving door’ for elite recruitment

China's President Xi Jinping waits for his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas before a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 6 May 6 2013. (Photo: Reuters/Petar Kujundzic).

Authors: Cheng Li and Lucy Xu, Brookings Institution

‘Revolving doors’ are a common feature of the United States’ political landscape, helping facilitate the fluid exchange of ideas and expertise between government and non-government sectors. At US think tanks, staff frequently ‘revolve out’ to engage in government service Read more…

Firm response required to Kim Jong-nam murder

A member of the youth wing of the National Front, Malaysia's ruling coalition, holds a placard during a protest at the North Korea embassy, following the murder of Kim Jong Nam, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 23 February 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha).

Author: Liang Tuang Nah, RSIS

The murder of Kim Jong-nam — the estranged eldest brother of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un — in Kuala Lumpur International Airport should come as no surprise to those familiar with the violent ways of the Kim regime. Read more…

Eurasia’s stability depends on Kazakhstan’s political transition

China's President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev arrive for a family photo during the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, 4 September, 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Damir Sagolj).

Author: Micha’el Tanchum, Truman Institute

On 25 January 2017, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev made a landmark televised address to the nation announcing a constitutional reform process that would devolve several powers of the presidency onto the country’s parliament. The 76 year old president has served for over a quarter of a century Read more…

What’s behind the rapprochement between China and the Vatican?

A priest holds an effigy of baby Jesus during a Christmas eve mass at a Catholic church on the outskirts of Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi province, 24 December, 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee).

Author: Thomas DuBois, Hong Kong

The authority to appoint bishops has been a key point of contention in the restoration of relations between China and the Vatican. Since formally severing relations in 1951, China has refused to recognise any papal authority over the Chinese Church Read more…

Strategies for Singapore’s economic future

A man looks out at a cluster of private residential condominiums in Singapore, 10 February 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su).

Author: Chia Siow Yue, SIIA

In Singapore, the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) Report has been released. It recommends strategies to respond to external challenges such as subdued global growth, rapid technological change, political uncertainty and rising anti-globalisation. Despite these disruptive developments, the CFE argues Singapore can capitalise on its strengths and seize opportunities in Asia. Read more…

‘America First’ is unlikely to shake up the Asia Pacific

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reviews the honour guard before a meeting with Japan's Defense Minister Tomomi Inada at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, 4 February 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Toru Hanai)

Author: Ted Gover, Central Texas College

President Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine is a vigorous argument to change the United States’ actions at home and abroad while departing from the US post-war order that Trump argues left many US workers behind. This markedly different platform has created uncertainty in regional affairs, giving policymakers in Washington and elsewhere plenty of consternation as they strive to adjust.  Read more…

Bangladesh should recalibrate its Rohingya policy

A Rohingya refugee girl wipes her eyes as she cries at Leda Unregistered Refugee Camp in Teknaf, Bangladesh, 15 February 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain).

Author: Arafat Kabir, University of Utah

Bangladesh is said to be planning to relocate its Rohingya refugees to a remote island. If implemented, tens of thousands of Rohingyas currently living in the camps around Cox’s Bazar — Bangladesh’s top tourist destination — would move to Thengar Char Island. Read more…

Immigration is South Korea’s only solution

The young and well educated are comfortable with living around foreigners and accept that non-ethnic South Koreans can qualify for citizenship. (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter).

Author: David Hundt, Deakin University

It’s going to take something radical to arrest South Korea’s demographic and social decline. Societies can counter population decline by having more babies, allowing more immigration, or a combination of the two. The government has bet on increasing South Korea’s birth rate to overcome its demographic crisis. Read more…