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

Chinese finance high-speeds into unknown territory

An investor looks at an electronic screen at a brokerage house in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, 26 January 2016. (Photo: Reuters/China Daily).

Author: Qian Han, Xiamen University

On 23 June 2017, a court in Shanghai charged the international trading company Eastern Dragon with market manipulation in the Chinese futures markets during the 2015 stock market crash. Eastern Dragon was slammed with a US$101 million fine and two of its traders were handed out suspended prison sentences. Read more…

Jokowi needs to let go of Indonesia’s ‘bad old days’

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo gestures during an interview (Photo: Reuters/Beawiharta).

Author: Editorial Board, East Asia Forum

Around the world, a wave of nationalism, nativism, and populism is threatening the values of tolerance and openness that underpin democratic government and society. Inequality, controversy over immigration, and disillusionment with political elites have boosted the prestige of exclusivist identity politics and illiberal ideas, even in old established democracies.

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Makar and the re-emergence of old power in Indonesia

Anies Baswedan casts his vote in the Jakarta governor election in South Jakarta, Indonesia (Photo: Reuters/Beawiharta).

Author: Gustav Brown, NUS

Many have cast the recent Jakarta gubernatorial election as a defeat for religious pluralism at the hands of political Islam — a movement which appears more potent and visible than at any time since Indonesia’s transition to democracy. The ‘rising radicalism’ frame, others suggest, obscures the real contest going on behind the scenes.

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Moon assembles dream team, but North Korea unwilling to play

South Korean President Moon Jae-in attends a ceremony marking Korean Memorial Day at the National Cemetery in Seoul, South Korea, June 6, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji).

Author: Leif-Eric Easley, Ewha Womans University

North Korea’s second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test on 28 July raises the stakes for the United States and Republic of Korea (ROK). Informed observers have fretted about a rift between South Korea’s new pro-engagement president, and a US president who takes a more hawkish approach toward North Korea. Read more…

Stemming the tide of violent extremism in the Philippines

Black smoke comes from a burning building in a commercial area of Osmena street in Marawi city, Philippines June 14, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco).

Author: Ica Fernandez, Manila

Marawi was a victory for Islamic extremism in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The next steps taken by the Philippine government will determine the extent of its spread. Read more…

Australia must leapfrog the partisan divide for the future of freer trade and prosperity

A crane unloads containers from a ship at the Port Botany container terminal in Sydney, Australia, 6 July 2017 (Photo: Reuters/David Gray).

Author: Elizabeth Thurbon, UNSW Sydney

Over the past three years — in an apparent rush to sign off on as many trade deals as possible — Australia has failed to ask the hard questions about the purpose of trade policy and how trade deals specifically help the country advance its economic, geopolitical and social goals. Read more…

Why Southeast Asia and ASEAN are a strategic problem

From left, Indonesian President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha link arms as they pose for photographers during the 10th Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Summit as part of the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in metropolitan Manila, Philippines, 29 April 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Aaron Favila).

Author: Paul Dibb, ANU

While it is true that ASEAN has been successful in giving a complex region a sense of identity and largely avoiding interstate conflict, it may well be that its use-by-date is coming. This is not only because it consistently sweeps contentious issues under the carpet of unanimity, but also because it is being overtaken by current strategic events. Read more…

Vietnam’s strategies in the South China Sea

People take part in an anti-China protest to mark the 43th anniversary of the China's occupation of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea in Hanoi, Vietnam, 19 January 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Kham).

Author: Carlyle A. Thayer, UNSW Canberra

A year ago on 12 July 2016, the Arbitral Tribunal handed down its award on the claims brought by the Philippines against China over their maritime disputes in the Spratly Islands. The Tribunal ruled unanimously on almost all of the Philippines’ claims. Read more…

Book cooking and the PNG election

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill pauses before making an address to the Lowy Institute in Sydney, 29 November 2012. (Photo: Reuters/Tim Wimborne).

Author: Paul Flanagan, Canberra

On 9 July, Papua New Guinea’s Election Advisory Committee resigned in a devastating blow to the credibility of the country’s 2017 election. The failure of the O’Neill government to provide this high level constitutional committee with factual electoral information suggests deliberate efforts to obstruct the truth. Read more…

Danger at Doklam for India and China

An armed unit from Tibet police border security force attends a drill at a military base in Shigatse, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, 24 October 2015 (Photo: Reuters/Stringer).

Author: M. Taylor Fravel, MIT

The standoff between China and India on the Dolam plateau in the Doklam region has lasted for more than one month. Both sides have miscalculated, with potentially dire consequences.  Read more…

Empty US threats over North Korea are serving Beijing’s interests

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and South Korean Ambassador to the UN Cho Tae-yul speak after a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the recent ballistic missile launch by North Korea at UN headquarters in New York, United States, 5 July 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar).

Author: Hugh White, ANU

When North Korea tested a ballistic missile back in February, the Trump administration threatened military action. They did the same thing when Pyongyang tested again on 4 July. Read more…

To Doklam and back: India–China standoff

China's President Xi Jinping inspects the guard of honour during his ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India's Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi, 18 September 2014. China had said it was determined to bridge differences over its shared border with India (Photo: Reuters/Stringer).

Author: Sourabh Gupta, ICAS

China and India are locked yet again in a standoff of Himalayan proportions.

Almost five weeks after Indian troops trespassed and forcibly halted the activities of a Chinese road construction crew on a narrow plateau at the China–Bhutan–India tri-junction area in the Sikkim Himalayas, the two sides appear no closer to resolving their quarrel. Read more…

Why isn’t Thailand’s middle class fond of democracy?

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attends a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the royal crematorium for late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in Bangkok, Thailand, 27 February 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom).

Author: Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Kyoto University

The growth of the middle class and civil society plays a pivotal role in the promotion of democracy. They closely monitor a government’s performance and its commitment to good governance. Read more…

US–China cooperation on North Korea remains critical

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before their meeting at at the Great Hall of the People on 19 March 2017 in Beijing, China. (Photo: Reuters/Lintao Zhang).

Author: Brendan Taylor, ANU

China is under pressure to deliver a solution to the increasingly dangerous North Korean crisis. Read more…

Simplistic views of Indonesian Islam are limiting Australian diplomacy

Muslims attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Sunda Kelapa port in Jakarta, Indonesia 6 July 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Darren Whiteside).

Author: Greg Fealy, ANU

A recent survey asked Australians to select words that best represent Indonesia. By far the most popular word was ‘religious’ (68 per cent), which subsequent focus group discussions revealed mainly denoted ‘Islam’. Read more…