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

Are minilaterals the future of ASEAN security?

Then Defence ministers and army chiefs of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand launch surveillance programme in Malaysia. The four Southeast Asian nations guarding the Malacca Strait had then started joint air patrols of the vital sea lane (Photo: Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad).

Author: Grace Guiang, Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation Inc.

The Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines Trilateral Maritime Patrol (Indomalphi) implemented its first joint patrol in June 2017. Almost a year since signing the trilateral framework in August 2016, the recent attack by the Maute group in the Philippines emphasised the urgent need for cooperation. Read more…

Substance and stardust in New Zealand’s 2017 election

Jacinda Ardern (C), New Zealand's new opposition Labour leader, speaks to the press alongside members of her party after Andrew Little stepped down in Wellington, New Zealand, 1 August 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Charlotte Greenfield).

Author: Stephen Levine, Victoria University of Wellington

For much of 2017, the New Zealand election was looking to be ‘boringly predictable’. All this changed on 1 August when the Labour Party’s then leader Andrew Little announced his resignation. Within hours, his deputy Jacinda Ardern — having only been in that position for a few months — had been confirmed as the party’s new leader. In a sign of the New Zealand public’s inattention to the details of parliamentary life, she became ‘an overnight sensation’ after nearly nine years as a Member of Parliament. Read more…

Press freedom and politics in Japan

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference to announce snap election at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Toru Hanai).

Author: Arthur Stockwin, University of Oxford

Most international attention on East Asia today is sharply focused on North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments. But this does not mean that we can neglect the significant developments taking place in Japan’s domestic political landscape. Since winning the December 2012 elections, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has maintained a commanding majority in the national Diet, and Abe himself is sometimes called ‘all-powerful Abe’. Read more…

‘More democracy’ is no quick fix for Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis

A Myanmar soldier stands near Maungdaw, north of Rakhine state, Myanmar, 27 September 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun).

Author: Jonathan Bogais, University of Sydney and Thammasat University

In recent weeks, extreme violence perpetrated by the armed forces of Myanmar (the Tatmadaw), Buddhist nationalist militias and Buddhists generally against Muslim Rohingya in the state of Rakhine has killed an estimated 1000 Rohingya and displaced 430,000. The UN has described the violence as ethnic cleansing. Read more…

Abe’s big gamble

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (3rd R), who is also ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader, raises hands with coalition Komeito Party leader Natsuo Yamaguchi atop of campaign van at Tokyo's Shibuya district in Tokyo, Japan, 28 September 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Toru Hanai).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

Although not unanticipated, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s dissolution of Japan’s lower house and call of a general election on 22 October still surprised many given the difficulty in finding any convincing explanation for why the election should be held more than a year early. Read more…

The leverage factor in US–Pakistan relations

Pakistani Shi'ite supporters of Imamia Students Organization chant slogans and carry signs during a protest rally against US President Donald Trump while marching towards the US consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, 27 August 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro)

Author: Michael Kugelman, Wilson Center

In a speech on 21 August announcing his new US Afghanistan strategy, US President Donald Trump minced no words. ‘We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting’, the US president declared. ‘But that will have to change, and that will change immediately’. Read more…

The end game of China’s arms export strategy

China's J-10 fighter jets perform during an air show, the 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China, 1 November 2016 (Photo: China Daily/via Reuters).

Authors: Ron Matthews, Defence Academy of the UK, and Xiaojuan Ping, NUS

Is China’s arms export strategy really a success story? The first question is to establish whether there has been dramatic growth in China’s arms exports, emulating the success of its broader commercial exports. While the picture is not equivocal, there are signs that something is indeed happening. Read more…

The costs of constitutional reform in Japan

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force soldiers conduct maintenance work to SH-60 Seahawk helicopter inside JMSDF's helicopter carrier Izumo during their military exercise in South China Sea, near Singapore, 22 June 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Nobuhiro Kubo).

Author: Yuki Tatsumi, Stimson Centre

Constitutional revision has always been a top priority for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, throughout his political career. Abe has consistently focused on revising Article 9 of the constitution in a way that would allow Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defence. Read more…

Military legacy still stalling Myanmar

A woman with an Aung San Suu Kyi tattoo attends a rally in support of her in Yangon, Myanmar, 24 September, 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun).

Author: Naing Ko Ko, ANU

Ever since Aung San Suu Kyi inaugurated her ‘national reconciliation’ government, Myanmar’s leadership has been heavily criticised for silence on the army’s atrocities against minorities — in particular, the Kachin, the Shan and the Rohingya. Read more…

How can China help address transnational crime in Asia?

Author: Jeremy Douglas, UN

Public security authorities in China are increasingly engaging with law enforcement, justice and UN agencies from Asia and beyond to improve cooperation against transnational organised crime. The Interpol General Assembly taking place in the last week of September in Beijing is a part of this intensified effort. This contribution is helpful and should be welcomed. Read more…

Trump’s wall the wrong call to protect the losers from trade

Attorney General of California Xavier Becerra speaks to the media at the US–Mexico border after announcing a lawsuit against the Trump Administration over its plans to begin construction of a border wall in San Diego and Imperial Counties, San Diego, California, 20 September, 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Mike Blake).

Author: Frank Tudor, Perth

As the US administration contemplates building a physical wall along the Mexican border and a metaphorical wall with the rest of the world, it will be seen to be moving against globalisation and losing interest in the global order. Read more…

Can Modi break the mould?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walks to inspect a guard of honour upon his arrival at the historic Red Fort during Independence Day celebrations in Delhi, India, 15 August 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi).

Author: Editorial Board, East Asia Forum

With the China border dispute resolved, Shinzo Abe’s trip to Delhi successful and the Trump administration looking for a win with India, after three years Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is sitting pretty.

Or is he? Read more…

Modi’s first three years: some wins but breakthroughs yet to come

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves after addressing the nation from the historic Red Fort during Independence Day celebrations in Delhi, India, 15 August 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi).

Author: Amitendu Palit, ISAS, NUS

It has been more than three years since Narendra Modi led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to a spectacular victory in the parliamentary elections in May 2014. But Modi’s term to date has been a mixed record. Read more…

SCO not NATO’s foe

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Chinese President Xi Jinping review the honour guard during a welcoming ceremony before their meeting as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) security bloc summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, 8 June 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Mukhtar Kholdorbekov).

Author: Ernesto Gallo, UCL and Domenico Giannino, London Metropolitan University

After the much-hyped March Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum in Beijing, Chinese, Russian and Central Asian heads of state met again in Astana in June for the annual Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) Summit. Read more…

Ending North Korean brinkmanship

Missiles are driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other high ranking officials during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of North Korea's founding father, Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang, 15 April 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Sue-Lin Wong).

Author: Vinod Saighal, New Delhi

Analysts across the world have begun to justify North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s brinkmanship on the grounds that he is securing the longevity of his regime against any action that the United States might take. As long as Kim knows that China will not join hands with the United States in taking him out, he will keep upping the ante — thumbing his nose, so to say, at the United States. Read more…