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

Can China take the mantle on climate change leadership?

Employees row a boat as they examine solar panel boards at a pond in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, China, 16 March 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Stringer/Files).

Author: Sam Geall, chinadialogue and Chatham House

With the United States in retreat and Europe divided, can China take the lead on climate change action?

Beijing’s action on climate change so far has been driven primarily by domestic concerns rather than international pressure or concerns about the global effects of climate change. It has shown a reluctance to shoulder leadership at the United Nations. Read more…

The International Criminal Court challenges Duterte’s drug war

Participants display placards as they participate in a procession against plans to reimpose the death penalty and to intensify the drug war during 'Walk for Life' in Luneta park, Metro Manila, Philippines, 24 February 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco).

Author: Champa Patel, Chatham House

After winning a landslide victory in June 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte immediately fulfilled a campaign promise and instigated a so-called ‘war on drugs’. He publicly endorsed the arrest and killing of suspected drug users and sellers. He even went as far as to promise the police that there would be no repercussions for their actions. Read more…

CPTPP a boost for Japan’s regional trade leadership

Japan's Minister of Economic Revitalization Toshimitsu Motegi (R) and Vietnam's Industry and Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh shake hands after they attended a news conference on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Ministerial Meeting during APEC 2017 in Da Nang, Vietnam, 11 November 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Kham).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

If any country deserves accolades for bringing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to a successful conclusion, it is Japan. Japan was the primary force driving negotiations for the CPTPP (also known as the TPP-11) after the United States withdrew from the original Trans-Pacific Partnership a year earlier. Read more…

Will Party control reign in China’s rogue SOEs?

People visit the booth of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation at China Beijing International High-tech Expo in Beijing, China 8 June 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee).

Author: Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard, Copenhagen Business School

Much has been written on the need for reform of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs). They play an important role in the Chinese economy, as they dominate China’s strategic sectors and pillar industries. They are also key instruments for the implementation of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) policies and strategic initiatives. But in terms of return on assets they are widely regarded as less profitable than privately-owned companies. Read more…

Russia’s shift south

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands after making a statement on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russia, 1 June 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Grigory Dukor).

Author: David Lewis, University of Exeter

As relations with the West soured during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s third term, Russia launched a ‘pivot to the East’, forging a far-reaching political alignment with China and promising development in Russia’s Far East regions. At the same time, Moscow turned south, rethinking ties with Pakistan and India, and developing a new role in Afghanistan. Russia’s new policies in Asia are carving out a growing role in what officials dub ‘Greater Eurasia’. Read more…

National security in a post-American economic order

US President Donald Trump speaks to the media on his way to address the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington DC, US, 23 February 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg).

Author: Editorial Board, East Asia Forum

After the Second World War, the United States and its allies built a global, rules-based economic order. These days, there is much spruiking about the global rules based order and how it is at the core of the national security interests of liberal democracies. Less well understood is that the rules that matter most for global security are the economic rules of which America, seventy years ago, was the primary architect. This order, combined with comprehensive military power, was the American world order. Read more…

Achieving balance in Australia’s strategic thinking

US President Donald Trump welcomes Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to the White House in Washington DC, United States, 23 February 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg).

Author: Gordon de Brouwer, ANU

A lot has been said about the challenge that Australia and other countries in Asia and the Pacific face in balancing their security interests with the United States and economic interests with China. The need to deal systematically with this challenge is sharpening as Beijing and Washington shift their conventional approaches to international relations. Read more…

People-powering Chinese cyber power

Visitors are seen at Huawei stand during the 2017 Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, China, 28 June 2017 (Photo: Reuters/China Stringer Network).

Author: Nicholas Lyall, ANU

China’s military cyber power capabilities are increasingly being augmented by a civilian dimension to increase their potency. However, in this relatively new domain for civil–military integration, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is taking action to consolidate state control over China’s cyber power projection. Read more…

Superweaponising China’s defence industry

Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army take part in a military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the army at the Zhurihe military training base in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, 30 July 2017 (Photo: Reuters/China Stringer Network).

Author: Adam Ni, ANU

China may be in the advanced stages of developing a superweapon that can devastate targets at great distances. Photos circulated on Chinese social media show what is suspected to be an experimental electromagnetic railgun mounted on the bow of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy landing ship Haiyang Shan. In stark contrast, the US Navy is winding down its railgun research program, citing budget constraints and shifting priorities. Read more…

Caucasus Trans-Caspian trade route to open China import markets

Workers stand next to a train at a container yard at the Khorgos border crossing point, east of the country's biggest city and commercial hub Almaty, Kazakhstan, 19 October 2015 (Photo: Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov).

Author: Tristan Kenderdine, Future Risk

The ‘Middle Corridor’ of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) is expanding. At a meeting in Ankara on 16 February it was agreed that Turkish State Railways would join the TITR as a full member. Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia established the TITR in 2013 as a coordinating committee between their national railways. Read more…

Jokowi strengthens grip over military

Former Indonesian military commander Gatot Nurmantyo shakes hands with the new Armed Forces Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto during an inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, 8 December 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Antara Foto/Puspa Perwitari).

Authors: Chaula Anindya and Satrio Dwicahyo, RSIS

The leadership of the Indonesian military is in flux. In the last three months of 2017, then commander Gatot Nurmantyo executed two reshuffles of senior officers: one on 27 October and the other on 4 December. Four days later on 8 December, Gatot handed over the commandership of the military to Hadi Tjahjanto. Read more…

Development projects cementing Singapore–Malaysia ties

People pass the skyline of the central business district at the Marina Bay Promenade area in Singapore, 10 April 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su).

Author: David Han, RSIS

The eighth Singapore–Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat held in Singapore from 14 to 15 January 2018 witnessed a milestone in bilateral ties. Leaders of both countries signed an agreement to build a rapid transit system linking Johor Bahru and Singapore, and officially launched the Marina One and Duo joint developments. But new challenges threaten to test relations between the two neighbours. Read more…

Vietnam’s new internet law will make the economy lag

An internet user browses internet in front of an advertising billboard for 4G connection service at a bus stop in Hanoi, Vietnam, 29 August 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Kham).

Author: Phan Le, ANU

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) thinks it is killing two birds with one stone by passing new laws regulating data storage. But it could soon find out it has no use for two dead birds while the stone flies off and damages the economy. Read more…

Turning the rising tide of anti-LGBT sentiment in Indonesia

Indonesian Muslim children walk past a banner reading 'Indonesia LGBT Emergency' in front a mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, 25 January 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Beawiharta).

Author: Sharyn Graham Davies, Auckland University of Technology

On 27 January 2018, police in Aceh, Indonesia arrested 12 transwomen and forcibly cut their hair in public. The arrests were the result of a raid on five beauty salons owned and operated by transwomen. The North Aceh police chief declared that Islam is against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people and that the ‘disease’ of LGBT must be eliminated. Read more…

Is Southeast Asia really in an arms race?

Indonesian President Joko Widodo walks on the deck of the Indonesian Navy ship KRI Imam Bonjol with some members of his cabinet in the waters of Natuna Islands, Riau Islands province, Indonesia, 23 June 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Antara Foto/Setpres-Krishadiyanto).

Author: Felix Heiduk, German Institute for International and Security Affairs

While countries in many parts of the world are reducing their military spending, Southeast Asian countries are bucking the trend. Total defence spending of ASEAN states doubled over the last 15 years in absolute terms, with countries like Indonesia and Thailand witnessing military expenditure growth rates of 10 per cent on a year-by-year basis. Read more…