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

The Belt and Road to China-based globalisation

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the Roundtable Summit Phase One Sessions of Belt and Road Forum at the International Conference Center in Yanqi Lake on 15 May 2017 in Beijing, China. (Photo: Reuters/Lintao Zhang).

Author: Colin Mackerras, Griffith University

At a time when globalisation from the West appears to be in retreat, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a potent symbol of the rise of China-based globalisation. Read more…

Domestic dalliances jeopardise Japan’s foreign relations

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to reporters as he arrives at his office in Tokyo, Japan, 3 July 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon).

Author: Kazuhiko Togo, Kyoto Sangyo University

Mid-2017 is certainly a time to remember for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His cabinet approval rating fell drastically from around 60 per cent in March to below 30 per cent in July. Abe’s fall from grace started with the Moritomo Gakuen scandal in Osaka. Read more…

The end of the Shinawatras

Ousted former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters as she arrives at the Supreme Court in Bangkok, Thailand, 1 August 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha).

Author: Greg Raymond, ANU

The Thai Supreme Court will hand down its postponed verdict on former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s involvement in a rice subsidy scheme on 27 September 2017. We will know then if her apparent decision to go into exile was warranted. Read more…

South Korea should prepare for reunification

Posters bearing messages wishing unification between the two Koreas hang on a wall at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, 22 November 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji).

Authors: Jong-Wha Lee, Korea University and Warwick McKibbin, ANU

The Korean peninsula is currently the most dangerous flashpoint in the world. North Korea may now be capable of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile that can hit major US cities. It is highly unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons, despite harsh sanctions by the United States and the United Nations. Read more…

Can Malaysia’s opposition end UMNO’s corrupt party-state?

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak inspects the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) youth during the annual assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 10, December, 2015 (Photo: Reuters/Olivia Harris)

Author: Wong Chin Huat, Penang Institute

Malaysia’s opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) is busy preparing its manifesto for the 14th General Election (GE14) to be held by August 2018 at the latest. PH cannot afford to repeat past mistakes and publish a strategically ambiguous election manifesto as a simple public relations exercise — it needs to produce a transition pact that clearly spells out what its victory would change and what it would not. Read more…

The real risk on the Korean peninsula

A protest against the Trump administration demanding immediate diplomatic talks with North Korea to prevent nuclear war, in New York, 9 August 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz).

Author: Richard C Bush, Brookings Institution

There is general agreement in Washington — and Seoul and Tokyo — that East Asia and the world will be a more dangerous place once North Korea achieves its declared goal of being able to hit the continental United States with nuclear weapons. But what is the danger, specifically? Read more…

Trump’s America in Asia: absent hands on board the ship of State

US President Donald Trump waves while boarding Air Force One before departing for Arizona from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, US, 22 August 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Joshua Roberts).

Author: Editorial Board, East Asia Forum

Asian governments — from allies like Japan, South Korea or Australia to critically important partners like China, Indonesia in ASEAN or India — seek, above all else, coherence and consistency as they deal with any new US administration. These are both commodities in short supply in Mr Trump’s White House. Read more…

Trump swings a wrecking ball at US–Asia relations

US President Donald Trump waves while boarding Air Force One before departing for Arizona from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, US, 22 August 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Joshua Roberts).

Author: T.J. Pempel, University of California, Berkeley

Few analysts in the United States or East Asia anticipated the speed with which the Trump administration would swing a wrecking ball into the complex and longstanding machinery of US relations with the Asia Pacific. Read more…

How India can tend to its farmers

Farmers from the southern state of Tamil Nadu pose half shaved during a protest demanding a drought-relief package from the federal government, in New Delhi, India, 3 April 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton).

Authors: Simi Mehta and Arjun Kumar, New Delhi

Despite the pro-poor and pro-farmer policies of successive Indian governments since independence in 1947, India’s farmers remain the ‘uncared for lot’ — and the situation is becoming increasingly untenable for both the agricultural market and the farmers themselves. Read more…

The role of women in preventing violent extremism in Asia

Indonesia Muslim youth women from Nadhatul Ulama organisation attend the ceremony of defending the country against terrorism, radicalism and drugs in Jakarta, 17 January 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Beawiharta).

Author: Jacqui True, Monash University

Violent extremism and acts of terrorism are a major threat to peace and security globally. Although there is growing awareness of how women and girls suffer from its impact, there is less understanding of the role that women may play in countering and preventing it. Read more…

Climate change begs for policy initiatives in South Asia

A boy walks along the flooded affected area at Saptari District, Nepal 14 August 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar).

Author: Simrit Kaur and Harpreet Kaur, University of Delhi

Staring at the tipping point of an environmental crisis, South Asia is mute and in self-denial. Collective wisdom needs to prevail in order for climate change policies to be implemented across the region that prepare for — and prevent — the dangers that lie ahead. Read more…

Organised crime threatening the development of Southeast Asia

Cambodia's authorities prepare confiscated drugs before burning during a ceremony to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 26 June 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Samrang Pring).

Author: Jeremy Douglas, UN Office on Drugs and Crime

On 19 June 2017,  the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organised a General Assembly debate to warn that crime groups are globalising and are now primary threats to security and development. The debate also featured a special briefing on Southeast Asia, a region that is particularly vulnerable to the reach and influence of organised crime. Read more…

Australia’s over-zealous response to the North Korea crisis

US President Donald Trump (L) and Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (R) deliver brief remarks to reporters as they meet ahead of an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, aboard the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, the United States, 4 May 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst).

Author: John McCarthy, Sydney

Australia’s reaction to the exchanges between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump has been couched principally in terms of what North Korea might do to Australia and of what Australia’s treaty obligations to the United States mean under ANZUS. This seems to miss the point. As important as the North Korea issue is for everyone, it is primarily about the countries of Northeast Asia and the United States. Read more…

(Re)realising the ASEAN Economic Community

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (6-R) poses with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers during the closing ceremony of the 50th Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) summit in Manila, Philippines 8 August 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro).

Authors: Jayant Menon and Anna Cassandra Melendez, ADB

As ASEAN turns 50, how much closer is it towards achieving economic integration? And can it do a better job of hastening reforms and binding ASEAN member states to their commitments at a time of increasing uncertainty and rising protectionist pressures globally? Read more…

Freedom of navigation is in the eye of the beholder

China's aircraft carrier Liaoning sails past a rainbow as it enters Hong Kong, China, 7 July 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip).

Author: Sam Bateman, RSIS

The need for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is invariably mentioned in statements from regional forums. For example, ASEAN and China recently agreed on the ASEAN–China Framework for the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea. An objective of this framework is to ‘ensure maritime security and safety and freedom of navigation and overflight’. Read more…